Within the next few days, the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory will be operating on a 24-hour basis.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, gave this assurance during a press conference at Ilaro Court yesterday, while offering an apology to those affected by the delayed COVID-19 PCR test results.
The Minister shared that additional lab staff would be hired and trained, and data entry personnel would be on hand to enter the information and alleviate some of the challenges currently being experienced.
Lt. Col. Bostic alluded to the roll out of the SHAPE App that allows officials to “do things in real time”, and disclosed that training of staff at all of the polyclinics was almost completed.
“So, we are really bent on doing better, and I am sure that in the coming days the situation as it relates to persons getting test results beyond the 40 to 48-hour period, that will come to an end. I am confident in saying so because I visited the lab today…. I spent a few hours and I was really happy to see that in spite of the backlog which would have existed for the past several days, that we were processing today, yesterday’s tests or swabs and that means that we were able to catch up to a large extent, except for a few situations that we are still developing.”
He continued: “So, I can give the assurance that within a few days, with all the resources that we have now at our disposal, including the intent to take the lab to a 24-hour system by hiring additional staff and training that we would be able to do what is required to be able to produce results in a 24-hour period. What I would like to do at this stage is to apologise to all persons who have been affected or impacted by this. We try. It is not a perfect system, and we are open to enhancing whatever we do to make things better as we have been doing throughout the length of this pandemic.”
The Health Minister reassured visitors, Barbadians returning home, and those persons who depend on the lab for their test results that with the additional resources, the challenges would be minimised.
So far, the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory has conducted 62,000 PCR tests, 12,000 of which were done in December. In the last three days, there were over 3,000 tests.