COVID-19 testing ramped up countrywide

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Head of the COVID-19 mobile unit, Dr. Keon Harmon, demonstrates how a sample is taken

Director of the Georgetown Public Hospital’s medical laboratory, Dr. Pheona Mohamed-Rambaran has said that there has been an intensification of testing countrywide by the Health Ministry.

“Based on what we are seeing, there are a lot more samples being taken; on average, we will get between 200-300 samples daily. However, our laboratory’s capacity currently is only able to test maybe a maximum of 140, so there is always that backlog of samples waiting to be tested,” Dr. Mohamed-Rambaran was quoted by the Department of Public Information as saying on Tuesday.

Given the backlog of COVID-19 tests to be processed, the new PPP/C Government has stepped up efforts to increase the level of testing.

According to DPI, Dr. Mohamed-Rambaran explained that one crucial way of addressing the backlog is to train more staff.

To this end, the Ministry, in collaboration with PAHO/WHO, has begun training more Medical Laboratory Technologists.

Essentially, at least 18 laboratory technologists will be available to be placed on rotation to process test samples.

The trainees will come from regional hospital laboratories, private laboratories and other Government facilities with labs and machines that can process the COVID-19 samples.

“With the training that we have for the staff, it is hoped that maybe within the next week or two, we can improve and increase our capacity to 300 samples. That also means we would have to extend the hours of services, which means we will have to increase the number of teams that we have working because the ultimate aim is to work 24 hours.” Dr. Mohamed-Rambaran explained.