(BVI NEWS) – The BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) has said they are working to have local testing equipment for the coronavirus in full operation within the next few weeks.
Chief Executive Officer of the BVIHSA Dr Ronald Georges gave that indication last Thursday February 27 after reports surfaced of a potential suspected case of the coronavirus in the BVI.
“We are working very assiduously to make sure that we have the ability to test for the coronavirus in-country. We have a PCR machine (or a thermal cycler) at the hospital, and we have ordered test kits,” Dr Georges said.
“There are some additional requirements that we have to do to be certified to be able to do those tests, and we are hoping to have that completed within about a week or so,” the CEO added.
Dr Georges further said that once the equipment is present in the territory, the current two- to three-day turnaround period for test results will be considerably shortened.
But once the testing equipment arrives in the, Dr Georges said test-runs will have to be done to ensure the test results are accurate.
“We have to make sure that our quality control is in place. So we have to do some tests, send them overseas for confirmation, and once that process is finished, we would have the ability to do testing in the territory, and our turnaround time will be much quicker — within 24 hours,” he explained.
Measures continue to be place
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health Dr Irad Potter said the health services in collaboration with all the other relevant authorities, will continue to ensure that the territory is well-prepared to handle the virus, should it slip through the borders.
“Most people who get the coronavirus would only have mild illness. A few people would be sick severely enough to be hospitalised. We are reviewing all our resources that we have, we are reviewing all of our protocols, we are testing our systems and we are quite confident that given the provisions that we have, we will be able to manage a case,” Dr Potter stated.
He added: “Everything that we do is geared towards reducing not only the risk of the importation of the virus but, also ensure that the public is knowledgeable, know what to do to protect themselves individually and collectively as a BVI family.”
In the meantime, there are currently no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the BVI, health authorities have said.