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Ministry of Health moving to conduct rapid testing of COVID-19

The Nassau Guardian April 6, 2020 Krystel Brown

The Ministry of Health is moving to commence wider community screening for COVID-19, Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands announced in the House of Assembly today.

“We are exploring the introduction of rapid testing,” he said.

“The first step in the process will require in-country validation of these rapid serological tests.

“That process is ongoing and once it is complete, wider screening for COVID-19 at the community level will commence. We have more than 10,000 rapid kits in country at this time.”

Currently, the Ministry of Health administers molecular tests on people who meet certain testing criteria.

He said the Ministry of Health has administered 300 such tests to date.

“We have moved rapidly to introduce molecular testing in country. A month ago these tests would have had to be sent to Trinidad or to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in the United States to be run,” he said.

“They are now run in The Bahamas and within the next week, in spite of the world demand, we expect to have added equipment to duplicate our ability to provide PCR testing in country.”

So far, there have been 29 cases of the virus in The Bahamas.

Five people have died as a result.

Eleven patients are in hospital. The minister said three of them are very ill, eight are stable and two are eligible for discharged. The remaining patients are at home.

He noted that the case fatality rate is 17.2 percent.

He added: “We have not yet reached the peak of the outbreak in The Bahamas.”

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