Health Minister, Dr. Irving McIntrye, has said that rapid testing will be done on visitors and nationals entering Dominica once the borders are opened.
He was speaking with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on his weekly Anou Palay programme.
The country’s borders are expected to open in July.
“What we think would be the ideal thing is prior to coming here we would love that you have a PCR test done, preferably within 72 hours,” he said. “And we also have the online questionnaire that the person has to fill out.”
According to Dr. McIntyre, this questionnaire has all the information as to the individual’s address and where they have been before during the previous 14 days and where they worked.
“That is important to us, their different social habits and based on that questionnaire, we will have an idea in which category do you fit, low, high, medium and then we can take measures accordingly,” he explained.
The minister advised that people coming in should get a PCR (polymerise chain reaction) test which tells whether or not someone has the virus very early on.
“When you come here we are still doing a rapid test and based on the results of the rapid test, we can decide where we filter you,” he said.
According to Dr. McIntyre, the rapid test can be done within 10 to 15 minutes.
“So we have devised a plan, we would have someone doing the documentation, someone doing the testing so that we can get it done in a much quicker period of time,” he explained. “If you have a positive IgM which means you may be likely to have it [the coronavirus], then we have to do swabbing.”
Swabbing ann be done at the Environmental Health Office at the Douglas-Charles [Airport].
Dr. McIntyre explained further that if the person is IgM positive it is very likely that they could have been in contact with someone with Covid-19 recently.
“So this person goes to the secondary screening site, this person doesn’t enter the terminal where we can do a PCR test and this person goes to the quarantine facility or a designated facility by the government until we get the results in 24 hours,” he indicated. “If the person is positive IgG that means they have immunity and then they are free to go through the terminal.”
He said if the person is both positive for IgG and TgM, then that person is still followed up.
“That is where the surveillance in their district and at the hotels is of paramount importance,” Dr. McIntyre stated.
He said the authorities now have the confidence to send Dominicans to their homes or residences because of the availability of the rapid test. However, he said all of this information goes out to the district team for monitoring.