Government has revealed plans to secure an additional 20,000 COVID-19 test kits for the British Virgin Islands to ramp up territory-wide testing.
This comes amid the announcement by Minister for Health Carvin Malone that a passenger who travelled from the BVI to St Vincent last week had tested positive for COVID
-19 upon arrival.
“The laboratory currently has capacity to conduct over 3,000 COVID
-19 tests in-house and is actively seeking to purchase an additional 20,000 testing kits with the assistance of Public Health England,” Minister Malone stated.
He also listed the categories of persons that will receive frequent testing for the virus.
These include persons who meet the case definition for COVID
-19, all emergency room admissions, all hospital inpatients, all persons undergoing surgery, and persons requiring COVID
-19 tests for travel.
The minister said healthcare workers are tested based on exposure risk. Other categories of persons who are tested locally include persons being detained who entered the territory illegally, health professionals who request COVID
-19 testing, and all returning residents exiting mandatory quarantine.
However, medical practitioner and former legislator Dr Kedrick Pickering recommends that the territory expand testing beyond those select categories.
In a recent radio interview, Dr Pickering called on government to perform coronavirus
tests on every resident in the territory. He said the time has come for the territory to be ‘a little more proactive’ on the matter.
The BVI Health Services Authority has tested a total of 741 individuals for COVID
-19, with 733 negative results and eight positive results. The BVI presently does not have any official record of active COVID