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The Ministry of Health and Wellness has cleared the remaining 2,000 coronavirus (COVID-19) samples for testing.

This was stated by Head of the National Public Health Laboratory, Dr. Michelle Hamilton, during a digital COVID Conversations press conference on Thursday (August 20).

“The reagent for the cobas 6800 that we spoke about at the last press briefing did arrive in Jamaica on schedule, and so we have been able to clear the COVID-19 backlog of samples,” she said.

Further, she pointed out that the country has received enough supplies to put the health system in a position to ramp up its testing and to meet any challenges that may arise in regard to testing.

“I want to emphasise that we do have an adequate number of reagents in the country to deal with not just routine surveillance, but with surveillance exercises coming out of all the investigations that will be required around the new positives,” she said.

In the meantime, Dr. Hamilton has appealed to citizens to adhere to the COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures to ensure that the cases do not continue to rise.

She is also urging the citizens to be aware that only 10 of the 98 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours were a part of the backlog and not to feel comfortable about the spike in cases thinking that they are from the backlog.

“We want you to be aware of the fact that the backlog samples were minimal compared to the samples from recent times. Now, this does not have to cause us to panic or get alarmed. What we are saying is that we all need to pay attention to the recommendations that have been made. We all need to adhere to social distancing, to the wearing of masks and to hand sanitising, to ensure that the levels of COVID with positive samples do not continue to escalate,” Dr. Hamilton said.

“So, we have enough samples, we have enough reagents to test at this time, but we are asking that you work with the protocols, so that we don’t need to be doing a lot of surveillance testing around new cases,” she added.

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