McMillan: Follow up testing not being fully reported

It is unclear whether everyone who tested positive by way of an antigen test did the mandatory follow-up PCR tests to confirm, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan said yesterday.

“We are aware of a number of our testing sites that do exactly that,” she said during a Ministry of Health press conference yesterday.

“Certainly the sites that are linked to the [Ministry of] Tourism, the Bahamas health visa, many, if not most, of those sites do exactly that.

“Would I say to you that we are getting the reports from all sites that are doing rapid antigen tests? No, I will not say that.”

According to the emergency orders, individuals arriving in The Bahamas are required to have a negative RT-PCR no less than five days before arrival, obtain a travel health visa and undergo a rapid antigen test five days after arrival. This includes all Bahamians, residents and visitors in the country for more than five days.

Any individual who tests positive on the antigen test is required to take a follow-up RT-PCR test.

Only positive RT-PCR tests are added to the official count and trigger a quarantine and contact tracing process.

However, McMillan said she cannot say for certain that testing has been happening as intended.

“We continue to reach out to sites that we know are testing, requiring that they, you know, make that information available to the Disease Surveillance Unit in a timely manner for us to be able to monitor what is happening with the rapid antigen tests and those that are being referred on for RT-PCR,” she said.

“This is a work in progress.

“We are enhancing our IT platform for our systems to be able to make it easier for that to occur. But currently, we are receiving definitely those RT-PCR positives from those persons who may have had a rapid antigen test and are symptomatic from a good portion of those sites that are testing.

“But we continuously seek to get to 100 percent, and that is a work in progress.”

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Rachel Scott

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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