Govt aiming to use its testing resources “properly” – Dr Anthony

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A woman being tested for Covid-19 at one of the Ministry of Health's testing sites (Filed pic)

The Ministry of Health has conducted a record number of over 55,000 Covid-19 tests so far for the month of January 2022.

Speaking during his daily Covid update on Thursday, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony, said this is more than the number of tests conducted for the whole of 2020 since the pandemic started here in March of that same year.

This number also surpassed the average monthly figures for 2021.

“For 2021, we would have done, 387,266 tests overall, that on average would be 32,272 tests per month, so you can see in January of this year we would have exceeded all of those numbers,” the Health Minister said.

“So, we have been testing quite a lot. More people are coming out to be tested and we’ll continue to do that, however, we have to make sure that we are using our testing resources properly and that we are targeting the population who really need to be tested,” he added.

He said persons who are symptomatic will be given the antigen test and if found to be positive, no repeat PCR test will be conducted, as was done previously.

“For PCR, we are prioritising that for patients who really need to be checked with PCR. Those include the people who are in hospital, persons who are coming to the accident or emergency or our outpatient departments, persons who are in high risk settings or any other person that one of the clinicians feel that they should be tested for Covid-19 using PCR,” Dr. Anthony said.

He is also urging persons to use the health centers in their area to have their tests done.

“In Georgetown, we have seen, at the Umana Yana for example, a lot of people have been flocking there, but I want to advise them that we have about eight or nine health centers in different parts of Georgetown, that are doing antigen testing, so you don’t have to go to just one site,” Dr. Anthony said.

The Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday that it will only provide PCR testing for persons who have been hospitalised and those who have been in environments susceptible to COVID-19 infection. This new measure was instituted in a bid to reduce crowds at Covid testing sites. [Extracted and Modified from DPI]