‘Don’t swamp testing sites’ – Health Minister says amid rush for COVID tests


If you have been in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive, it will take about five days before the viral particles can be readily identified in your body.

As such, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony has asked that individuals wait before getting tested.

“We have seen a lot of people showing up at testing sites, demanding to be tested but if they go too early you are not going to know what’s your true status,” Dr. Anthony said during his daily COVID-19 update on Wednesday.

Over the past few days, Guyana has been recording a record number of new COVID-19 infections. Since December 29, a total of 2,280 persons have been infected; the highest total was reported on Wednesday, with 788 people newly infected.

And with this rapid increase in cases, many more people may opt to get tested since they may have come into contact with individuals infected with the deadly disease.

In fact, the Health Minister acknowledged that with the surge in cases, people may tend to “panic a little.”

But he explained that if the novel coronavirus has been passed from an infected individual to another, it will take at least five days before a PCR test will detect the disease.

“Don’t go and swamp the testing sites,” he said.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony

Meanwhile, the Health Minister assured members of the public that there is enough capacity in the public health system to cater for the demand. At the National Public Health Reference laboratory alone, at least 2,000 tests can be done over a 24-hour period.

Regional hospitals also have the capacity to conduct some smaller amounts of PCR tests, and there are abundant antigen testing kits countrywide. Additionally, 12 private facilities can offer either PCR or antigen tests.

And so the Health Minister said, “I don’t think at this point in time that we will be overwhelmed.”

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