Covid-19 mobile units will target hotspots, increase testing
The Ministry of Public Health on Monday officially launched a mobile COVID-19 unit and two facilities in Region Four which will provide services to persons who have symptoms of the new Coronavirus Disease.
The mobile unit is located at the East La Penitence Health Centre in Georgetown and the other two facilities were set up at Herstelling on the East Bank of Demerara and Paradise on the East Coast of Demerara.
While testing will not be done at the locations, the samples will be taken from persons experiencing flu-like symptoms and will be sent to the National Public Health Reference Laboratory.
“These will help us to meet closer to our full potential for testing,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Karen Boyle said. She noted that over 40 tests can be done simultaneously but “we haven’t even used our maximum capacity.”
The test takes six hours, she said and are dispatched 24 hours after to health officials.
Not everyone will be tested but Dr Boyle is encouraging persons who are experiencing more than one flu symptoms to visit the units.
“One you have the fever and the upper-respiratory-tract infection, come and find out,” she said.
Other symptoms of the COVID-19 include body aches, abdominal pains, vomiting, headache, loss sense of taste and smell and diarrhoea among others.
Persons who test positive will be provided with treatment for their symptoms and the Ministry will begin contact tracing.
“[it is] for us to be able to provide treatment services and provide further guidance and if other people in the home has to be tested,” Dr. Boyle explained.
The units, for now, will be operating from 9am to 3pm.
The mobile unit will be at the East La Penitence Health Centre until Wednesday after which it will be at other COVID-19 hotspots.
“At this point, we’re thinking of regular working hours but there’s a possibility for if there is a high demand this can be extended. Being a mobile unit, we also have plans for the unit to go into other areas what we consider hotspots –where we’ve had a few cases emanating from –just to check and see what’s going on in the facility…also, the markets where some contacts have traversed.”
The units were also launched to ease congestion at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer assured that the staff at the health facilities in close proximity to the units are not the same persons manning the units. As such, she noted that the regular services at the health centres are not being disrupted.