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Chief Medical Officer says ministry to decide on use of COVID-19 rapid test kits

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie says there will be consensus in the coming days on the rapid test kits which can be approved for COVID-19 testing, and the protocol for use of these kits.

Dr Bisasor McKenzie was speaking at a press conference at the health ministry a short while ago.
Responding to a question about testing for the virus and the use of rapid testing kits, she cautioned that many of the kits that are being used elsewhere, could deliver false positives depending on the time frame in which people are tested.

Dr Bisasor McKenzie also emphasised that concern earlier today at a meeting of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), where a team from the ministry updated the committee on the COVID-19 situation. 

Committee chairman Dr Wykeham McNeill expressed concerns of his own, that time may be lost on the ground while health officials decide on which kits are suitable.

The CMO told the digital press conference that the ministry has received material for approximately 3,000 tests from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

She also said the number of tests can be doubled, with the use of reagents, if there is a spike in cases, and that there is supply of material for testing for another two months.

She also informed that the Government has requested additional kits from PAHO.