Public urged to make police report about non-accredited labs doing PCR testing

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Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony is encouraging the public to report any non-accredited laboratories that are conducting PCR COVID-19 testing.

Currently, only two labs are accredited to do PCR testing – Eureka Medical Laboratory and the National Public Health Reference Lab.

“Any other laboratory in Guyana who proposes to be doing PCR testing is not in compliance with the directives of the ministry. You should report them and report them to the police as well,” Dr Anthony revealed during Tuesday’s COVID-19 update.

A private medical centre on Sheriff Street, Georgetown, has advertised that it is conducting PCR testing even though it did not receive permission from the authorities.

Other private hospitals and laboratories would have expressed concern last year about not being allowed to do PCR testing. Former country representative for the Pan-American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) in Guyana, Dr William Adu-Krow had also committed to assisting private entities to build their capacity in this regard.

However, the ministry only recently began accrediting private labs to do rapid antigen tests, which are done within 20-30 minutes, but the more accurate test – the PCR – test takes about 24 hours before the results are produced.

GeneXpert machines are also now being used to carry out COVID-19 tests; the machines were previously used to test persons for tuberculosis, but have now been recalibrated to test for COVID-19.

The first machine will be sent to the Lethem Regional Hospital in Region Nine where testing will be done and persons will be able to get results within an hour.

Other machines will be available at the Mabaruma Regional Hospital in Region One, the Linden Hospital Complex in Region Ten and the New Amsterdam Hospital in Region Six.

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