Only hospitalised, high-risk people will now be given PCR COVID test – Health Minister

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The Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony on Tuesday announced that the Health Ministry will only provide PCR COVID-19 tests to specific categories of people from now on, because of the sheer number of people demanding these tests.

Those specific categories of people, he stated, include: hospitalised patients, people admitted to Accident and Emergency (A&E) and outpatient clinics and those individuals who work in “high-risk settings.”

These tests can also be given at a physician’s discretion; that is if a doctor decides that an individual should get this test.

“This unlimited use of the PCR is not going to help anyone and therefore we are now putting some guidelines in place to ensure that only people who meet these criteria would get the PCR,” the Health Minister said during his daily COVID-19 update on Tuesday.

This new position has been adopted for two reasons, according to Dr. Anthony and one of those reasons is that there has been a surge in the number of people infected with COVID-19 which has been attributed to the suspected presence of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

The second reason for this position is that many people are rushing to get tested after suspecting that they may have come into contact with someone who tested positive.

“If you have been exposed, you can’t come right away to be tested.

“… If you believe that you have been exposed then the better thing to do is to go into quarantine and wait for five days and then if you become symptomatic, you go and get a test,” Dr. Anthony explained.

This high demand for tests was evident on Tuesday at the Umana Yana, a public testing site in Georgetown. There, several individuals told the News Room that they had been standing in line for hours, attempting to get a PCR test or their test results.

According to Dr Anthony, the public health system conducts about 1,500 to 2,000 PCR tests per day in addition to 2,000 antigen tests daily.

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