PHILIPSBURG–A private laboratory in St. Maarten is currently being vetted as a local testing agent for COVID-19.
This was confirmed by Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Silveria Jacobs on Wednesday.
The minister announced that the proposed date for use of the newly vetted laboratory is April 1. “Hopefully by next Wednesday we will be able to do COVID-19 testing right here in St. Maarten,” she said.
“This is a great asset to the country with respect to getting results right away in determining confirmed cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been pushing for countries to test, and St. Maarten will definitely be complying with that in the next week if all goes well with the vetting process,” she added.
Jacobs said St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS) as well as this private laboratory is already able to carry out tests for 19 other types of cold/flu-like viruses.
This will be the direction in which Collective Prevention Services (CPS) will be going. “Once someone shows symptoms, first we test for the spectrum of the 19 [tests – Ed.] that we have, and then if it comes out negative for any of those, the test for COVID-19 is [carried out].
COVID-19 tests are still processed through the Institute Pasteur in Guadeloupe and then checked by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM in the Netherlands.
Jacobs added that cargo flights via FedEx continue to prevent disruption of that service. “Once this new testing kit – which the other lab has received – is vetted this will take about a week,” she concluded.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/local-covid-19-testing-agent-soon-possible-for-st-maarten