COVID-19: Eureka Labs to take samples for overseas testing

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Eureka Medical Laboratory is one of the first private medical institutions to conduct tests for COVID-19 after private health facilities were given the green light to do so amid a growing increase in the number of local cases.

The privately-operated entity informed that persons are required to make an appointment with the laboratory, located at Thomas Street, North Cummingsburg, Georgetown. This can be done via telephone.

Upon patients’ arrival at the appointed time, a nasopharyngeal swab will be taken. For this process to start, persons would be asked to present their identification card, driver’s licence, or passport.

The samples collected will be sent abroad for testing using PCR technology, the gold standard for COVID-19 detection. These results will be available in four to five days. The cost of a test was not mentioned.

One week ago, Head of the National COVID-19 Task Force, Moses Nagamootoo stated that private hospitals were given the necessary permission to import kits and conduct their own testing.

Since the pandemic reached local shores, only the National Public Health Reference Laboratory was permitted to process testing kits.

Government had initially said that the Reference Laboratory would be the only facility permitted to test for COVID-19, but has since buckled as the number of cases continue to climb in Guyana.

Former shadow Public Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony had called on the caretaker coalition to tap into the resources of the private health sector to boost its testing capacity for COVID-19.

“We need the Private Sector to come on board and they need the Ministry to allow them – giving them the permission to go ahead so that they can add to the testing capacity of the country,” he was quoted as saying.

Dr Anthony, one of the key stakeholders in the National COVID-19 Response Forum that was established by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), explained that many of the private hospitals and laboratories here in Guyana have the human capacity as well as the equipment readily available. As such, they just need to get the supplies in order to conduct tests for COVID-19 themselves.

According to Dr Anthony, if these private health institutions need a test conducted, they first have to seek permission from the Public Health Ministry, and some of these requests have been denied.