Guyanese health authorities conducting too many unnecessary COVID-19 tests – PAHO

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A mobile testing unit in Guyana

The Ministry of Public Health is conducting too many unnecessary COVID-19 tests on persons who do not require such testing, says the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Country Representative, Dr William Adu-Krow.

“We should have enough [test kits] to test everybody that needs to be tested. My problem is the positive rate, the number of persons who are positive,” he explained.

“After testing a whole lot of people, it keeps falling. That means we are testing too many people who don’t need to be tested. Because if you are testing, less and less number of positives, then we need to be very careful…One day, we tested 50-something and that day we only had a few positives out of that,” he explained.

Dr Adu-Krow further related that ‘premature testing’ produces negative results, even though a person could be positive. He advised that testing should be done after symptoms are presented.

“Having said that, 37 per cent of our population happens to be persons who are not showing any symptoms, asymptomatic but they have it. The good thing is that we don’t need to test those people immediately because if you test them, they might not convert to positive. It would still be negative and you would think they don’t have it when they have something.”

He further noted that: “We say normally, look out for symptoms. Let’s see whether after five to seven days, the person develops symptoms. Then you know that the person has actually gotten the condition. If we do that, we would have more than necessary to test people that need to be tested.”

As of yesterday, Guyana conducted 1,559 tests of which 1,409 were negative.