Thu | Oct 29, 2020

Gov't to introduce COVID antigen testing

Published:Thursday | September 17, 2020 | 7:51 PM
Director of the National Laboratory Services, Dr Michelle Hamilton, says the antigen test is simple, cost-effective and easily accessible compared to the PCR test.

Jamaica is to start using antigen tests to check for COVID-19 in people suspected to have the virus.

Director of the National Laboratory Services, Dr Michelle Hamilton, says the test is simple, cost-effective and easily accessible compared to the PCR test. 

She said the Pan American Health Organisation has approved the antigen tests.

It will be available by both public and private doctors but will only be used for people with COVID symptoms.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said the results of the tests will be made available to patients' doctors within 30 minutes of sampling.

He also said clear guidelines will be set for stakeholders who will use the kits.

Meanwhile, Hamilton said it is likely that antigen tests will provide false negative results but the laboratory will crosscheck these findings with PCR samples.

The Government has ordered 80,000 antigen test kits. 

Jamaica on Wednesday recorded five additional COVID-19 deaths, moving the tally to 51.

The country also recorded 210 new infections with ages ranging from 79 days to 88 years, increasing the overall figure to 4,374 cases with 3,016 of them being active.

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