The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Ministry of Health have advised that CARPHA has the only accredited laboratory in the region to test for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
As fears continue to mount over the virus currently making its way around the world and most recently the Caribbean region, laboratories locally have also advertised their ability to test for COVID-19. However, according to the Ministry of Health in their daily update on the virus, “the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has the only lab that is certified to test samples for COVID-19 and therefore, it is the only lab that can confirm positive or negative results of the samples.”
In a release on Saturday CARPHA further explained it “has the only CARICOM regional reference laboratory” to test for the virus. It further stated that its tests are done under strict guidance and recommendations from the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) and US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CARPHA also stated it does not participate in any validation or verification of tests for private laboratories in the Caribbean nor does is endorse tests of any private laboratory, manufacturer or distributor. Guardian Media understands these tests can range from $900 to $2,200 at some local private laboratories.
CARPHA, therefore, advises the public to “be extremely careful and vigilant when using private laboratory services as conflicting or inconsistent results (false positive or negative) can be obtained.”
Over the weekend two samples were sent to CARPHA for testing bringing a cumulative figure of 34 samples taken in T&T. However, the Ministry of Health said there aren’t any positive results yet.
On Friday CARPHA raised the Caribbean region’s risk assessment for the virus from “Moderate to High” to “Very High.”