Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, is expected to engage with officials from Brazil about testing COVID-19 samples that are being taken in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).
This was disclosed in an interview Wednesday, with Kaieteur News, where the Minister sought to explain several key areas regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and stringent efforts the Ministry of Health will be undertaking.
Minister Anthony stated that even though a significant quantity of the backlog has been cleared, bringing test samples out of Region Nine to take to the National Reference Lab has proven to be very difficult.
Due to this, there is a delay in providing the residents of that area with their results in a timely fashion.
He added that the state of Roraima in Brazil is very close to Region Nine and it was found that they have a lab that can do Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.
In light of this, the Minister has scheduled a meeting with regional officials of Region Nine and officials from the state of Roraima.
The meeting, that will be held today, will aim to fervently discuss the initiative and following the meeting, a decision to be made.
If the initiative is agreed upon, this will see test samples from Region Nine being sent to Roraima, and given the state’s close proximity to Guyana, test results are expected to arrive sooner and there will be fewer backlogs.
In addition to that, Minister Anthony addressed the samples that were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago for testing.
Initially, 500 samples were sent to clear a backlog of 1900 COVID-19 test samples. The Minister said that out of the 500 samples that were sent, 450 were returned while a small fraction had remained.
An additional 138 samples were sent following the return of the 450 samples from the first batch and they are expected to return by today, according to the Minister.
A total of 638 samples have been sent to the CARPHA lab in Trinidad thus far and Dr. Anthony assured that his Ministry is vigorously working to further decrease backlogs.
The Ministry would have also trained 30 new technicians to carry out testing and it was also announced that 16 new ventilators were received along with 40,000 new test kits.
There is only one PCR testing machine in Guyana, working overtime with another ordered.
It is taking approximately 1 to 2 weeks for test results to be returned.
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