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St.Kitts-Nevis Significantly Enhances Capacity of COVID-19 Testing Supplies as CARPHA Runs Low

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St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Attorney General Vincent Byron is giving assurance that the Federation has the capacity to carry out test for the Coronavirus even if the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) was to run short of the chemicals to undertake tests on samples.

The region was placed on alert as the health agency told reporters that they have a buffer of three-weeks of chemicals to carry out test.

CARPHA Deputy Director Dr. Lisa Indar at a news conference revealed that the shortage on the international market has trickled down to the facility.

Providing more details on the number of testing mediums, Dr. Indar explained they prepared for a capacity of over 15, 000 tests to be carried out.

“We would have done in our modelling we would have assumed that 1 percent of the Caribbean population may be impacted, and this is based on international modelling. So we would have been preparing ourselves to then have the capacity for 20,000 tests. So those three weeks kind of gives us the buffer, so meaning that we’re anticipating it, so the three weeks may be more than three weeks but we’re also actively looking for supplies which we have the assurance that we are likely to receive. But there is that global shortage and so that has delayed some of the supplies that would have come to us probably before this. But CARPHA has taken a very proactive role since this started in January, we would have done our pre-orders its just the time it has taken to get to us because of this global shortage.”

Attorney General Byron speaking Friday reminded that a local lab is also undertaking test as part of a two-prong approach to confirm positive or negative cases.

“I cannot speak for CARPHA, the Caribbean Community has mandated CARPHA to be the official testing facility for our countries. What we have in St Kitts is a local testing lab that has test facilities as well that we do dual testing. We test here and we send off to CARPHA for verification, so there is an indication that when our local labs tests we believe as advised by our health professionals, that after a certain number of these tests correlate to those of CARPHA that there is no difference between the two, that we can eventually come to rely our own testing capabilities.”

He reiterated that there is adequate capacity to deal with testing.

“At this point in time, we test locally, we send the test to CARPHA, and when CARPHA returns those tests we have an official confirmation as to testing. We believe at this point in time we have sufficient testing capability to manage our situation in St Kitts and Nevis.”

Meanwhile, the regional agency confirmed that they have been inundated with a number of tests that they were forced to solicit the service of additional personnel to deal undertake tests.

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