Govt considering reporting antigen test results

Minister of Health Dr. Michael Darville said yesterday that the government will consider reporting positive rapid antigen COVID-19 test results following the roll out of its free antigen testing program on New Providence.

He reiterated that the tests are not diagnostic but rather screening tools.

“In our new digital platform, we will definitely take into consideration reporting of symptomatic antigen-positive tests,” Darville said.

“That is still being worked on. Our digital platform is being constructed.

“Once we complete the pilot program here in Nassau …, this will give the computer software technicians the tools necessary to incorporate some of our medical algorithms to ensure that our testing and our contact tracing and our real-time reporting is consistent with regulations so that we do not have contaminations or false negatives.”

Darville said a similar pilot will hopefully be rolled out on Grand Bahama this week.

The free testing program was launched in New Providence on Saturday. It is a part of the government’s pilot program for the initiative before the nationwide rollout.

Tests are available at Melia Nassau Beach resort and Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gymnasium, which will be a drive-thru testing site.

Individuals with no COVID-19 symptoms can get a test at those sites. They will have to first register at covidtest.gov.bs.

Meanwhile, individuals with symptoms can get a free RT-PCR test at the South Beach Clinic, which will not require prior registration.

Only one free test is allowed each week for an individual.

There were only supposed to be 400 daily tests available but the prime minister announced on Sunday that it was expanded to 1,000 daily tests due to demand.

Darville said the government is pleased with the way the program is going. 

“It is a pilot program and that pilot program gives us a clear indication of what the level of community spread is in country,” he said.

“So far, the results indicate that even though there is community spread, it is not as bad as we initially anticipated at this time.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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