Health Minister, Dr. Irving McIntyre, has said “Dominica will be the only Caribbean country able to test for Coronavirus” after receiving training from the United States Centre for Disease Control.
At the first meeting of the tenth parliament held on Monday, Dr. McIntyre said the training will begin on Thursday and Friday. He pointed out that Barbados is making efforts towards acquiring the ability to do their own tests but he claims that Dominica will be the only one after receiving the training this week.
Elsewhere in the Caribbean, Trinidad had received testing kits as early as 7th February 2020, according to their health minister Terrence Deyalsingh.
Additionally, a statement released by the Health Ministry of Trinidad, states “CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory (CMML) is accepting specimens for diagnostic testing by molecular method. The turnaround time is 24-48 hours from receipt of the specimen at CMML.”
“On Friday…the Pan American health organization gave Dominica up to 80% preparedness. This is much higher than any other OECS countries,” Dr. McIntyre noted.
Recently, the health minister said at a press conference that, according to World Health Organization (WHO) calculations, the risk of the virus is at medium to low for the Caribbean region.
He made mention of the ongoing training of providing updated and standard case definitions to all relevant stakeholders, stating that Dominica “has things under control.”
“Also, in place, is the development and dissemination of reporting tools to healthcare providers during the preparation phase, including the development of a database,” he stated.
In terms of case management, which forms part of the Health Ministry’s plan, Dr. McIntyre said that there will be retraining of healthcare staff on severe acute respiratory illness, case management.
Dr. McIntyre explained that the goal of risk communication is to ensure a timely and efficient flow of accurate and consistent information during all phases of emergency or risk.
Over a thousand persons have died from this virus and more than forty thousand cases have been confirmed to date.