‘Underestimated’ COVID numbers caused by people not getting tested – Dr. Anthony
September has the highest number of COVID-19 infections yet Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony says that the number of people actually infected with COVID-19 could be much higher since people are not opting to get tested.
On Monday he said that the limited COVID-19 testing in most regions might signal that the reports of the number of people infected are “artificially low” and are an “underestimate” of the actual infection rate.
The minister highlighted that the local health authorities do have the capacity to offer widespread testing. Previously, Dr. Anthony said that the National Public Health Reference Laboratory has the capacity to conduct 2,000 PCR tests per day, with approximately 96 samples processed every three hours.
On Tuesday, however, he explained, “The challenge that you have is that people are not coming forward to be tested, so one is to have capacity and the second is whether people are coming to get tested and I think that is a problem that we have.”
Further, Dr Anthony related that in some cases, the local health authorities have found that people may be displaying signs and symptoms of COVID-19 but they do not want to get tested since that would confirm that they indeed have the disease.
“… but the problem is they’re going to infect a lot of people around them,” he lamented.
According to Dr. Anthony, the situation is worsened because some of those people who may be infected may need treatment if their health deteriorates with the infection. But, because they do not want to get tested, they would not readily access the needed healthcare.
As such, he encouraged people to get tested especially if they believe that they might have been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19.
He also encouraged people to get vaccinated, emphasising that there has been an increased number of unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people hospitalised after experiencing the more severe and life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19.
To date, 348,534 people (or 67.9 per cent of the targeted adult population) have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Of that number, 179,967 (or 35.1 per cent) have received their second dose.
Meanwhile, some 20,896 children (or 28.7 per cent of children aged 12 years and older) have received their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.