Laboratory Capacity Expanded Across St. Kitts And Nevis To Process 492 Samples Per Day – Minister Byron-Nisbett

Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 30, 2021 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Health has invested heavily to ensure that the Federation’s healthcare system is resilient against the impact of the deadly COVID-19 disease. Minister of Health, the Hon. Akilah Byron-Nisbett, during her presentation to the Federal Parliament on September 30, 2021, stated that although there has been a slight backlog in the processing of results, regional assistance has been secured to assist with the processing, so that results can be delivered in a more timely and efficient manner.

“Our laboratories have been stretched over the past two weeks. That meant that our turnaround time for results has been affected significantly. I wish to take this opportunity to apologize to the general public for the delay in results. I want to assure you, however, that the Ministry is in the process of having these backlogs cleared expeditiously. We have sought regional assistance with the clearing of this backlog and are hoping to have the backlogs cleared over the next few days,” said Minister Byron-Nisbett.

The Minister of Health also stated that private laboratories, namely, the Next Generation Lab, Avalon, and QDL have been conducting COVID-19 testing and processing samples over the past 20 months. The revalidation of JNF adds an additional capacity of 120-140 samples being processed per day, which coupled with the private labs would allow for up to 492 samples to be processed per day. In Nevis, the administration of Alexandra Hospital is currently working to improve the hospital’s capacity by getting a PCR machine online.

“I am also happy to report that our JNF Laboratory has been given the revalidation and will now be processing samples. This revalidation of JNF adds an additional capacity of 120-140 samples being processed per day… Our current capacity with JNF back online ranges from 298 to about 492 samples processed per day. The Alexandra Hospital is working on getting a PCR machine online as well. Once online, that will certainly increase capacity and allow for Nevis to be able to take care of their samples,” said Minister Byron-Nisbett.

The Ministry of Health’s vaccination roll-out programme was recently bolstered by the acquisition of 1,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Health Centers will be open every Saturday (9:00 am to 4:00 pm) and on Sundays, Basseterre, Tabernacle and Old Road will be open from 9 am -1 pm and all other Centers will be opened from 1 pm – 5 pm.

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