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Director of the National Laboratory Services, Dr. Michelle Hamilton, says a large shipment of testing kits is expected in the country next week to facilitate clearing of the backlog of coronavirus (COVID-19) samples for testing.

Dr. Hamilton noted that the National Public Health Laboratory was on track to clear the outstanding samples. However, a previously anticipated shipment of kits needed for testing did not arrive.

“We did not get the kits we were expecting, but we are getting a much larger number of kits. They should be here by latest Monday (August 17), and then we will be able to proceed,” she said at the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ weekly digital COVID Conversations press briefing on Thursday (August 13).

Dr. Hamilton said that the samples to be tested are all from July, and the receipt of the kits “will mean that we will have people on hand to clear any samples remaining at the labs as well as to deal with eventualities coming in from the field”.

The test kits are to be used for the high-tech Cobas machine at the national lab in Kingston, which portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, had commissioned into service in April.

The machine allows for the testing of about 384 samples during each eight-hour shift at the lab.

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