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Front Pages 16 Mar, 2020 Follow News

Testing Machine

The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) has confirmed testing for COVID-19 will be available locally from this week.

The tests will be done at the HSA’s internationally accredited forensic laboratory, in partnership with the HSA clinical laboratory.

The introduction of local testing will significantly reduce the waiting period, from 5-10 days to 24-48 hours for confirmation of COVID-19.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Samuel Williams said:

“The ability for local testing is significant as it further enhances the capabilities of the HSA to not only detect COVID-19 in real-time but also provides timely intervention in the management of patients.”

It is also expected to enhance the HSA’s public health surveillance and expedite response capabilities.

The tests will be carried out with equipment and to standards approved by the WHO, PAHO and Public Health England.

According to Dr Williams, “Being able to test on-island will allow those persons who test negative to come out of home isolation as soon as they get results.”

Public Health will only be testing persons with a suspected case of COVID-19 who match specific criteria of symptoms.

These are:

• Flu symptoms and have a travel history to a country that has reported local transmission of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to symptom onset;

• Any acute respiratory illness and who has been a contact of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms;

• Severe acute respiratory infection requiring hospitalisation.

Meanwhile, the Health Services Authority (HSA) is encouraging members of the public who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to contact the flu hotline on 1-800-534-8600, 947-3077 or email flu@hsa.ky.

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