PCR exit test pilot to address chronic staff shortage

| 10/11/2021 | 47 Comments
Cayman News Service
Ed Bush Sports Centre, one of venues for the COVID exit test

(CNS): Public Health has begun rolling out new system this week for people coming to the end of their isolation period which allows them to go to a central district location for their PCR exit test instead of waiting for health staff to come to them. CNS has learned that there are just four people conducting the home tests across Grand Cayman and this week the healthcare worker assigned to West Bay had over 500 retests to do in that district alone due to the large number of people now isolating.

But from today previously positive people at the end of their isolation period were asked to go to the Ed Bush Sports Complex, Bodden Town Civic Centre or South Sound Community Centre for an exit test.

The testing clinic is for exiting testing for community cases only and launched Wednesday. The venues will be open between 11am and 1pm for those who tested positive on Saturday 30 October, as well as unvaccinated or partially vaccinated persons who tested positive on Tuesday 26 October and unvaccinated adult (18+) household member contacts of a positive person.

On Thursday those who tested positive the following day will be invited in for their tests, though Public Health is understood to be calling those who qualify for the pilot. After the test individuals are asked to return home and isolate until further instruction.

“Public Health will offer exit testing at these district locations in efforts to allow for persons to receive their test results faster,” said Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Eryka Simmons. “Public Health has previously been testing at residences of positive households. However, this has increasingly become a challenge due to the vast increase in the number of community positives.”

She said that the testing protocols and processes would be constantly under review in order to improve the service to the community.

“We understand the difficulty within which these changes affect all persons concerned, however we continue to appreciate the public’s patience and understanding while we all navigate these unprecedented times. After this pilot testing clinic is conducted, Public Health will advise further any changes in exit testing procedures,” Dr Simmons added.

Ministry officials have said that some 30 people have been recruited to work on issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, from manning the flu hotline to administering vaccines., but the sheer volume of people in isolation or needing test is still overwhelming.

Those in isolation are still complaining that it is difficult to get anyone to answer any help lines. People who have been in extended quarantine because of the knock-on effect of members of households testing positive at the point of exit also say they are not being given any indication of when they will be re-tested that has left some people locked down for more than a month.

If the pilot succeeds, it could help speed up exit tests and enable people, especially those in extended quarantine, to go back more frequently.

People requiring a regular PCR screening test are encouraged to schedule an appointment here
or visit HSA’s COVID walk-in clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital, Mon-Fri 7:30am-12pm.

Isolation requirements for COVID-19 positives
• Fully vaccinated individuals are required to isolate for 10 days, with PCR test on day 11*
• Individuals not fully vaccinated are required to isolate for 14 days, with PCR test on day 15*
Note: The day of your original PCR test is considered Day 0.

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Category: Health, Medical Health

Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why was it even suggested that the literal thousands of people in isolation due to community transmission should have at home testing for exit, when the travellers all had to present themselves at a designated location for exit testing?
    Did no one realise that this could be done in the same way?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wur aw doomed! Doomed ah tell ye!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why are there chronic staff shortages? You didn’t see this coming? You told us you were ready? You have had 18 months to practice and prepare! How many of the thousands of unemployed tourism workers have you drafted in to perform non medical roles? Have you shifted to 12 hour day/6 day weeks yet? Have you cancelled discretionary leave? Unless you have and still cannot keep up YOU ARE NOT SUFFERING A CHRONIC STAFF SHORTAGE!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Auditor General and Ombudsman should be investigating this whole shit-show. What is happening appears impossible to coexist with any standards of good governance, public safety, and prudent use of public funds. Especially after all the clear pronouncements we were ready. Were the people responsible lying or just negligent?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s perhaps easy enough to fill non-medical roles. Recruiting and filling medical positions are a different matter altogether, and if recruiting from overseas, which is no doubt the case. Pre-pandemic, this process would would take a few months, from the point of advertising, through interviews and candidate selection. Then there’s local health council registration, another lengthy process. Now add a global health crisis, travel restrictions, major public health concerns, and now you have even longer delays for any recruitment processes.

      Sometimes we need to cut our national leaders some slack. They are human too, and are doing what they feel is best. What we are experiencing is new for us in Cayman. Yes, other nations may have gone through it before, and yes we can probably pattern our planning from someone else’s experience, but no plan will be 100%. Life’s dynamic and will through curveballs.

      Sincere thanks and appreciation to the many health care and administrative staff who have worked in any capacity to support the pandemic response, as you have held down essentially two demanding jobs, covid response and your regular health care duties.

      • Anonymous says:

        The fact that bureaucracy prevents them from responding to pressing needs in a timely manner is no ones fault but their own. They are barriers of the governments own creation and they have lost sight of the goal. I have met the enemy, and he is us!

        Praise to those healthcare professionals who are doing all they can. Disdain to those administrators who are now doing more harm than good.

  4. MackB says:

    The government says that you should keep calm and trust that the chaos unfolding before our eyes is all a part of the plan.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Exit tests were ok in the start but now a 10 day or 14 day isolation should be ok .this is the practice in uk.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You should not just show up. You will be called the day before you’re due to retest. I was.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Someone please stop the radio ads
    #level4 bobo

  8. Anonymous says:

    Exit testing is such a waste of resources. The CDC and World Health Organisation determine that the vast majority of infected persons are no longer contagious 9-days from the onset of symptoms.
    When will Cayman catch up with the rest of the world, rather than treating this pandemic as if it’s still March 2020??

    • Anon says:

      Agreed. Exit testing is geared for Covid elimination – which is no longer the Island’s stated strategy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, we had your kind shouting the same puss during the mid- Spanish Flu crisis.

      We have your kind in all global challenges – don’t understand diddly squat, talks big and then leave the mess for the sensible ones to clean up.

      A couple of villages continue to miss their idiots tonight.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is it just me, or does this whole handling of this seem like the Fyre Festival?

  10. Anonymous says:

    The guys staying at Palm Heights had nice and easy home testing just this weekend. They obviously earn enough to not mix with the plebs on the Island?

  11. Anonymous says:

    WHY are we even doing exit testing??? If someone has been isolating for 10-14 days, in all other countries they are good to go after that. Of course, here we continue to hold people hostage. World class!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Proper specimen collection is the most important step in the laboratory diagnosis of infectious diseases. A specimen that is not collected correctly may lead to false or inconclusive test results.

    Use only synthetic fiber swabs with thin plastic or wire shafts that have been designed for sampling the nasopharyngeal mucosa. Do not use calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts

    CDC recommends collecting only the NP specimen (Nasopharyngeal)

    Store respiratory specimens at 2-8°C for up to 72 hours after collection. If a delay in testing or shipping is expected, store specimens at -70°C or below.

    🤷‍♀️ So how a healthcare worker assigned to West Bay collected and stored over 500 specimens? Did she carry a mini fridge with her that maintaines 2-8°C at all times? Going/driving from from place to place in tropical heat, carrying a fridge, opening and closing lit 500 times? Was she using dry ice boxes? I just want to have a picture how it is being done, since it is nearly physically impossible for one person to properly collect, store and deliver to the lab so many specimens. Even if she collected 100 specimens per day, still, too many for one person to handle. Fatigue leading to exhaustion would certainly affect the quality of her job. Why it is even allowed?

    I could be wrong on all points, please correct and enlighten me. But still, nonone should be doing such Herculean job alone.

  13. Anonymous says:

    But they said they are ready, test them. (Compass, September 23).


    … they have “systems” in place that will allow them to mobilise as a medical community to tackle potential COVID cases.
    … structures and strategies put in place would allow for expansion, in order to “receive, to treat, to support, to do the things that are necessary in order for us to manage and handle what comes
    … the “interconnectedness” of medical providers in Cayman positioned the jurisdiction uniquely to be ready to ramp up and “address a sudden change”.
    … We’re very fortunate in the Cayman Islands to have a lot of excellent physicians and we can pivot quickly and I think that is going to be helpful when the borders do reopen
    … So if next we open up and have surges of cases, we know now what to do
    … She [Dr.Sook Yin] encouraged the government to consider taking “a step forward: test us and see. I think we are prepared”.

    • Anonymous says:

      excellent receipts 7:03, – it’s not fun to be a witness to, but almost from the get go it’s been navigating down a spiral staircase in clown shoes whilst swearing they have oxfords on

  14. Anonymous says:

    Garbage again from cig and the civil service….zzzz
    The pact plan has more holes than Swiss cheese

  15. Anonymous says:

    When will Panton resign?

    This utter omnishambles has been entirely on his watch, but given how shameless he is, I doubt he will do anything to admit culpability or even to stand up and provide any sort of meaningful leadership.

    • Anonymous says:

      Panton? Not Manderson? Not Bulgin?

      • Anonymous says:

        Panton has ultimate responsibility. It is called being a leader, something about which he is very obviously entirely clueless.

        A disgrace of a politician who is utterly unfit for any kind of public office whatsoever.

        • Anonymous says:

          Panton is a gentleman and a Statesman. He is honest and represents me better than almost any other politician. The issue is those advising him, and those with whom he is forced to compromise, in part given our crazy election system. This is a result of the lack of a National vote, and a dysfunctional and lethargic civil service, although many hero’s are contained within it.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yeah, be a Caymanian “statesman” (with no State mind you) and blame everyone else but yourself.

            Don’t take a big boy’s job if you can’t cope.

            • Anonymous says:

              He is coping very well. Indeed he is keeping his head when all about him (including you) are losing theirs and blaming it on him.

          • Anonymous says:

            He is neither a gentleman nor a statesman.

            The rest of your comment is not worth correcting.

          • Anonymous says:

            Eventually you are what your record says you are.

            There are always loads of people saying good things about Wayne.

            So it must be an imposter making his public statements and running the show.

            Otherwise I can’t explain the incompetent, hypocritical idiot on constant display.

            Hope and prayers is not a strategy.

            Making the decision to not make a decision is actually a decision.

            Faced with our numbers basically every other government in the world tightened public health measures.

            Wayne, he jets back from his Climate Conference after 3days, “leaving early” because he is needed at home. Quarantining from his big ass boat he mumbles something to Cayman Marl Road about being concerned and maybe there might need to be more restrictions.

            We have enough unvaccinated people here that need government to protect them from themselves. Plus the schools and vaccinated people where the protective effect of the vax is waning.

            What has he done?

            Lord have mercy on his soul.

        • Anonymous says:

          All of that bunch, 1 in the same.

          Clean out the numbnuts and move on Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        How about all three, they can take McKeeva, Kenny and Chris and Sabrina with them as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      When will you start wearing masks and social distancing?

    • Anonymous says:

      caymanians don’t do accountability or resignations

      • Anonymous says:

        How about the Trinis and Jamaicans running the show?

        • Anonymous says:

          They are the best

          Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are exquisite examples of well-oiled global leaders in many areas.

          You all should be thankful that these persons have come to work in Cayman.

          • Anonymous says:

            They are failed states with failing societies. Their best and brightest leave, and the standards of them may be dropping.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Given all this chaos and waiting, I wonder how many people are just not bothering to get tested or doing a LFT on their own. Hopefully they still quarantine themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      THOUSANDS – that’s how many people are walking around infected and not bothering to isolate OR EVEN TO TEST.

      It’s the same reason there were lots of people trying to jump the line at the vaccine clinic on Tuesday.

      Because the majority of human beings can’t be trusted to self sacrifice for the greater good

      I am taking my yearly vacaction right now to stay at home and separate myself from this madness. It would be slightly more entertaining to watch if the government bothered to release accurate case counts as this surge unfolds around us.

  17. But Sabrina says:

    We were ready…

  18. Anonymous says:

    If they’d stop all the unnecessary panic testing, they wouldn’t have this problem.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Madness. These, and vaccination clinics, should be outdoors! When will Public Health stop organizing and hosting super-spreader events?

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