Second PCR Machine and Rapid Testing to Enhance COVID19 Testing

by: - March 30, 2020
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                                              Hon Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit

A second PCR machine might soon be accessible to local health care professionals to increase the island’s testing capacity.

According to the National Epidemiologist, D Shalauddin Ahmed, over the past two weeks, 167 samples have been taken and 149 tested. No additional positive cases have emerged although 136 individuals are in quarantine at government-sponsored facilities.

“Luckily, we have the ability and capacity to test on island because had we not had that capacity, our efforts would be complicated,” the Hon Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit said on Sunday, National Day of Prayer.

He revealed that the good work could soon be boosted with additional equipment.

“We have one PCR machine and we have been able to identify a second one” which he says the has even greater capacity than the one on hand.

The Hon Prime Minister also affirmed that rapid tests are now being employed as of Saturday and additional test quits are en route to Dominica.

Rapid testing are portable test kits which  look for fragments of the coronavirus genome in samples picked up through a throat or nose swab. It can deliver results in less time than the standard lab test.

Lab Superintendent, Catherina Jemmott had told a press coneference earlier this month that the turnaround time was 24 hours.

“Before that, we were only doing more definitive tests which are continuing,” Hon Skerrit said Sunday.

“We expect to receive, toward the end of this week, 1500 test kits to complement what we currently have.