by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Since earlier in September, it was noticed that there was a delay in the daily COVID-19 reports provided by the St. Kitts Health Promotions Unit.
Dr Cameron Wilkinson, the Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N France General Hospital, explained earlier at a COVID-19 Press Briefing that a greater volume of testing has to be done because of contact tracing efforts during the third wave.
There has also been a delay in the return of COVID-19 testing, and Dr Wilkinson offered more details on the impact of COVID-19 on the hospital.
“The truth of the matter is we were in the peak of our third wave, and we were doing a significant amount of tests. Just to give you an idea, from September 1 to September 25, over the last 25 days, we did a total of 8431 tests. And if you consider the amount of tests per working day leaving out the Sundays, that’s about 380 tests per working day,” said Dr Wilkinson during the monthly Prime Minister’s press conference on September 28. He continued pointing out the capacity that the three labs can manage a day.
“Now we have to look at the capacity of the labs that are doing these tests; although we have three labs that are working now, the capacity for Avalon per day is 20 to 40 tests per day. The capacity for QDL is eight to12 per day, and the capacity for Next-Gen is 150 to 300 tests per day, depending on whether or not they run one or two shifts.”
Based on the capacity of the three labs conducting COVID-19 tests, Dr Wilkinson says the volume of tests because the third wave has led to delays in returning COVID-19 test results.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Hazel Laws also noted that all samples from Nevis are transported to St. Kitts for testing.
According to Wilkinson, while the healthcare workers are stretched, he reports that they have been managing well with the COVID-19 cases and apologised for the delays.
“So again, I apologise for the delay, but I want you to understand that a number of us, we’ve been having sleepless nights trying to make a safe. And while persons would love to come out of quarantine early what we don’t want to do is to release persons who are positive, into the community and then we have a worsening of the situation.”