COVID-19 Testing Now Available on Montserrat

Ministry of Health Officials wear face masks during Friday morning's press briefing. (l to r) PS Camille Gerald, Epidemiologist Dr. Dorothea Hazel-Blake, Minister of Health Charles Kirnon (screenshot)

Ministry of Health Officials wear face masks during Friday morning’s press briefing. (l to r) PS Camille Gerald, Epidemiologist Dr. Dorothea Hazel-Blake, Minister of Health Charles Kirnon (screenshot)

Testing for COVID-19 can now be completed at the Glendon Hospital Laboratory. This was announced Friday by Ministry of Health Officials here.
Senior Medical Technologist Kimona Daniel-Bourne thanked the public for their patience as the laboratory had been closed for training over the past three weeks. As of Thursday, July 23, 2020 the lab located at the hospital can now conduct complete testing for the virus. Previously, samples needed to be sent to the regional testing facility at CARPHA.
The medical technologist said staff have undergone training on use of the machine, installation, Standard Operating Procedures for testing, and biosafety measures.
As with all other tests, results are available within 24 hours. However, the new PCR system requires a two-fold test. Montserrat currently has only one test kit and CARPHA will continue to serve as the secondary test source until this changes.
A 24-hour presumptive result will be sent to the doctor who requested the COVID-19 test, while they wait on the CARPHA result. These can be expected within 48 to 72hrs depending on the regional agency’s workload.
Epidemiologist Dr. Dorothea Hazel-Blake said it is important for patients to be ready to hear the results. Priority for testing is being given to persons who have flu-like symptoms, close contact with active COVID-19 patients, and those who need a negative test for travel purposes.

Currently, there is no cost to the patient. Persons arriving on island can be tested, which could reduce the quarantine period.

Daniel-Bourne said the ability to test on island was a major milestone for Montserrat as they have been working on this since last year. The new equipment will allow for future expansion to offer other tests to include dengue, tuberculosis and influenza.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharra Greenaway-Duberry said being able to offer the tests on island and reduce the turnaround time will enable residents who require negative test results ahead of travel to do so. She said there is still much confusion about the various travel bubbles, with countries having different requirements and a negative test result can assist in the process.

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