Wed | Sep 23, 2020

Health ministry to consider separating COVID-19 test results data – Tufton

Published:Wednesday | August 5, 2020 | 5:17 PM
Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton - File photo

Nadine Wilson-Harris, Staff Reporter

The recent upsurge in COVID-19 cases is partly being cited by the fact that health officials have been combining results from backlogged cases with results from current tests, but Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said that consideration is being given to separating the two data.

This, he said, will allow Jamaica to have a much clearer picture of the current situation as it relates to COVID-19.

Tufton said he is not sure why a distinction was not made initially.

“The backlog has come down significantly. I think we are under 2,000 now, but what we have done, also, is we are processing the backlog while processing the current samples each day,” he told The Gleaner on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness had promised that the backlog of 10,000 COVID-19 samples would have been cleared by end of July.

He had indicated that the backlog was due to a shortage of testing kits.

Health officials did not meet the timeline and Jamaica’s chief medical officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, later promised that the COVID-19 testing backlog would be cleared before the end of August. 

“I suspect it will be done quickly because they are really working on it. We have supplies now to work on that,” said Tufton.

Jamaica had 920 confirmed cases of COVID-19 up to Tuesday.

Of that figure, 348 were imported, prompting calls for the Government to reimpose travel restrictions on tourists.

Instead, the Government says it will tighten the protocols.

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