THE CARIBBEAN Public Health Agency (Carpha) has reported there are no pending covid19 test results for member states and turnaround time for testing remained consistent.
Carpha, in a media release, said the regional reference laboratory, the Carpha Medical Microbiology Laboratory (CMML), continued to conduct tests for suspected covid19 cases for 18 of its 26 member states. The agency explained throughout the pandemic period it has been guiding laboratory action through science-based testing protocols based on the latest recommendations by the World Health Organisation and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
"Carpha pledged to deliver results to the chief medical officers within 24-48 hours of receipt of the specimens in February when testing commenced. To date, the number of samples with more than a 48 hour from reception at Carpha and pending remain at zero."
Carpha reported as of August 11 the number of samples tested totalled 13,815 and none of the results have been delivered past 48 hours after receipt of the samples.
"Backlogs and prolonged wait times can complicate efforts to reduce the spread of the virus. A delay in test results can mean a setback for public health authorities to decide on a course of action - to implement contact tracing, provide appropriate care and guidance, or to inform someone that they have not contracted the virus."
Carpha stressed the agency is determined not to delay the time it takes for people to get their results, and consequently, the CMML does not retain possession of backlogs in its facilities.
Head of laboratory services and networks at Carpha Dr Gabriel Gonzalez-Escobar said: "Carpha continues to adhere to good laboratory practices that produce accurate results. Our testing strategies and cadre of well-trained staff work to ensure that there is no backlog for tests or pending results. We know that timely reporting of laboratory results is important as it can make a difference to member states.
“The CMML remains committed to delivering prompt covid19 results to the region. In the case of the covid19 laboratory emergency response, once a sample is received from a designated national public health laboratory, we issue the result within 24-48 hours.”
In June 2020, the CMML received a total of 3,250 samples, representing an average of more than 150 samples per business day. This represented the largest number of samples processed, and a notable achievement in the history of the organisation.
Carpha said its covid19 response, particularly in the area of diagnostic testing, is currently being supported by its International Development Partners including the European Union, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PAHO and Agence Française de Développement.