The Best Dos Santos Public Health Laboratory has made significant progress with the processing of COVID-19 test results.
And it is expected to get additional support with the arrival of two new machines, which will be shipped to Barbados next week, and two new laboratories to assist in processing the tests.
This was disclosed by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who also noted that Cuban doctors and lab technicians are expected to arrive in Barbados by Friday, January 22, while the virologist from the Pan American Health Organization was set to arrive early next week.
In the interim, she noted that work continued at the lab to ensure that persons awaiting outstanding test results should receive them by today, as the lab completed over 3,100 tests over the last two days.
She made these revelations during a virtual press conference from Ilaro Court, where she was joined by Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic; Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins; Manager of the Isolation Facilities, Dr. Corey Forde; and acting Director of Medical Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Dr. Clyde Cave.
“The majority of persons who have not yet heard will be hearing today, largely because the lab has completed over the course of the last few days, over 3,100 tests…. What remains are the Category three, and the Category four tests from the 18th and the 19th of January….
“To contextualise it, we received 1,054 tests (samples) on Monday, and we completed 854; and we received yesterday, 570, we have completed 210. What remains … to be done would be the remaining samples, with category three, and four predominantly, as well,” Ms. Mottley pointed out.
She added that data was also being entered on the spreadsheet so that certificates from the work done over the last 24 hours could be communicated to persons during the course of today.
“Every day, we have been literally clearing people out of quarantine, who were there before the 10th of January. If you recall that was the deadline that we set ourselves and starting the new categorisation from Monday, the 11th of January last week. As a result, today is the last day that we will be taking persons who have not come in yet,” the Prime Minister explained.
Noting that it was a difficult period for the country, Ms. Mottley said she personally visited the lab five nights over the last week to ensure that it could deliver.
She added that in addition to the two new machines, discussions were ongoing in relation to the two labs – one from the private sector related to a hospital, and the other independent of a hospital – to move the process forward.
The Prime Minister disclosed that Government’s efforts were also being supported by persons who worked, but who have agreed to work shifts at the lab to assist in clearing the backlog.
Noting that Government was working collaboratively with its partners locally, regionally and internationally, Ms. Mottley thanked the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization for donating “significant amounts” of rapid antigen tests and personal protective equipment to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
In addition, she noted that Barbados also received support from Guyana, with “significant volume of tests and reagent”.
“So, my friends that covers that aspect of the lab. I expect, therefore, that we should be back on track. We are obviously always challenged by the numbers that we are dealing with …. This is a daily exercise, and the Ministry of Health, along with the Ministry of Tourism, along with the Ministry of National Security will stay on top of it,” she assured the country.