HSA opens two drive-thru test sites

| 11/05/2020 | 5 Comments

(CNS): The Health Services Authority now has two drive-thru testing tents to screen front-line workers for COVID-19 and has expanded its laboratory capacity as part of the effort to increase test numbers. However, officials have confirmed that testing is still by appointment only, and with thousands of people now designated as essential or front-line workers, it could take weeks to test all those who are in public facing roles.

There is significant public concern that the authorities have been slow to increase testing capacity, despite having received a huge amount of tests kits more than one month ago. Technical issues, laboratory maintenance, shortages of other elements of the testing equipment, delays in getting the CTMH Doctors Hospital approved and many other issues seemed to have plagued efforts to increase testing numbers.

While Cayman is high on the world listing per capita for testing, the government’s stated goal now is not just suppression but eradication of the COVID-19 corona virus, but testing must increase significantly for that to be achieved.

With the opening of the drive-thru testing stations at the Cayman Islands Hospital, in addition to those at the Doctors Hospital and Health City, as well as the expansion of the HSA’s laboratory to speed up processing of samples, CEO Lizzette Yearwood said in a press release Monday that she was pleased with how things were now going.

“There are many logistics and steps in the process to ensure it operates as efficiently as possible,” she said, adding that it takes about five minutes to have a sample taken. “It has been a tremendous effort from many persons to get us to this point, and we continue to look at ways to further increase testing capacity. These latest improvements and expansions are a significant step in the right direction to increase testing.”

Public Health is scheduling appointments with front-line workers for the foreseeable future. Phase 2 front-line workers and a percentage of construction workers are currently being scheduled for screenings.  HSA, Public Health and the Chief Medical Officer are working together to prioritise people or business who are deemed essential front-line workers.

“There are thousands of individuals that are deemed front-line workers, so it will take a few weeks to get through the majority,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez. “We understand there is anxiety in the general population to be tested so we making all efforts to screen as many eligible persons as possible.”

As well as the drive-thru screening, members from Public Health are conducting screenings of workers on-site for larger businesses. Those screened for COVID-19 will receive results through the online MyHSA PatientPortal, which provides a secure method to accessing lab results.

Public Health officials said they will continue to contact anyone who tests positive for COVID by phone. All those screened will be provided a free patient portal account. As the COVID pandemic is a national crisis, HSA is working collectively with the local private hospitals in an effort to screen as many essential workers as possible.

“We are currently working with Doctors Hospital by sending them various businesses to be screened in an effort to ensure they maximise their testing capacity,” said Dr Williams-Rodriguez. “Health City Cayman Islands will be an additional screening site for essential workers in the Eastern Districts.”

All screening facilities are by appointment only and businesses will be contacted by Public Health for specific appointment times.

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There’s no reason for anonymity of persons getting tested, therefore the published photos of cars/persons in line poses no problems. The need for anonymity is for those who test positive. No different from any medical issue – that’s between the doc and the patient.

    Who wants their personal medical conditions – no matter what they are – exposed to one and all?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Looking at these pics, the amount of PPE worn by the health care workers administering the nasal swabs appears to be impressive – to the health care workers! I am wondering exactly how they are protecting the long line of people that are waiting for tests? For instance, suppose that the first car in line has an individual that is shedding virus and will eventually test positive (unknown of course at the time). The health care tester reaches deep inside of the car to administer the test. Chances are that in the course of doing this, some of the coronavirus is transferred onto their gloves, and possibly gowns sleeves or face shields. Question is then, what do they do to protect the next individual in line from transference from the infected individual they just tested? Obviously they must change their gloves between each test. But do they also change their gowns between each test? And is the face shield properly sprayed and disinfected also between each test? Judging by how far they appear to be reaching into the windows of the cars in the drive thru pics, there is a very good chance that all of these areas mentioned could be contaminated by any infected persons being tested. Wondering if the swabs could be passed to the person being tested and self-administered. If not, then would definitely need to know what the infection control protocols between patients are before I would want to get tested in this manner.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Keep those blue smurfs away from me!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just a quick question why are the PPM posting pictures of the cars lined up to be tested while plates are blocked out persons could still be identified, if they were truly concerned about anonymity wouldn’t they not post ?

  5. Anonymous says:

    People get ‘concerned’ about a lot of things. Cayman’s ability to test more people faster than probably any other place our size isn’t something to be ‘concerned’ about.


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