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  • “All our health care workers who develop acute respiratory infection will also be tested. All persons who visit our health centres and our accident and emergency departments [with acute respiratory infection], we will be doing a sampling of those persons to determine if there is any kind of spread in the community. Not everyone will be tested, but everyone will be advised to stay home if they have any problems,” she said.
  • “We are in the process of expanding our sites for testing. At present, testing is carried out at the National Influenza Centre. The Ministry of Health [and Wellness] is working very hard to establish, within the next two to three weeks, the capacity at the National Public Health to also test,” she said.
  • “We have acquired a machine that is capable of this testing and the installation will start on Monday (March 30), and we are hoping that everything will be completed as soon as possible to facilitate testing,” she added. 

All persons admitted to hospital with acute respiratory illnesses and pneumonia will be tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Speaking at a press conference at Jamaica House, on Friday (March 27), Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, said this forms part of changes the Government has made regarding surveillance for COVID-19 patients and to pick up community transmission as soon as possible.

“These persons are from across the entire island, so once you are in hospital and you have a severe respiratory infection, you will be tested,” Dr. Bisasor McKenzie said.

“All our health care workers who develop acute respiratory infection will also be tested. All persons who visit our health centres and our accident and emergency departments [with acute respiratory infection], we will be doing a sampling of those persons to determine if there is any kind of spread in the community. Not everyone will be tested, but everyone will be advised to stay home if they have any problems,” she said.

Dr. Bisasor McKenzie said they will also be testing, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, direct contacts of those persons who have been confirmed with COVID-19.

The Government is in the process of expanding its testing capacity for COVID-19 as well.

“We are in the process of expanding our sites for testing. At present, testing is carried out at the National Influenza Centre. The Ministry of Health [and Wellness] is working very hard to establish, within the next two to three weeks, the capacity at the National Public Health to also test,” she said.

“We have acquired a machine that is capable of this testing and the installation will start on Monday (March 30), and we are hoping that everything will be completed as soon as possible to facilitate testing,” she added.

The machine has the capacity to process 10,000 tests. This is in addition to the Government’s current testing capacity of 3,000 tests.

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