AS covid19 case numbers continue to rise in Trinidad and Tobago, Victoria Laboratories Ltd in San Fernando is experiencing its highest-ever turnout for private testing for the virus.
The lab, at Guppy Street, Vistabella is one of four local accredited labs the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has authorised to do testing.
PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing is done here on a drive-through basis by appointment. It costs $1,100.
The other facilities are Caribbean Forensic Services in Woodbrook, St Augustine Medical Laboratory Ltd and Maitri Maitri Diagnostics in San Juan.
As of 4 pm on Monday, 64, 320 tests had been done at private labs.
When Newsday visited the lab on Tuesday afternoon, there were several vehicles queueing to drive under a tent where an employee in PPE would take a nasal swab from the person to be tested.
One employee was walking around and speaking to drivers to ensure their names were on the appointment list.
He told Newsday there are two sessions daily – one that begins at 7 am and ends around 9 am, and another at 1 pm that ends around 3 pm.
The lab’s managing director Neil Ajodha said they started testing last August, but the turnout over the past two weeks has been the largest he has seen since then.
“It increased a lot,” he said. “The highest number we got was like 200 in one day.
“It’s the PCR test and you know that’s the gold standard for covid19 testing.”
The lab will aim for international accreditation for PCR testing in June.
The company has other locations across the country, but this is the only one that does covid19 testing.
“It’s only in vehicles (that we do testing) because of the safety (risks). They just wind down their glass and the doctor goes in with the swab.”
He said people tested in the morning typically get their results around 2.30 pm and those tested in the afternoon get theirs around 6.30 pm.
He said testing is done every day, including weekends and holidays.
A lot of people who wish to leave the country come for testing, he said.