Equipment to test for the novel coronavirus arrived in St Lucia on Tuesday (March 11,) which means that the island can now perform local testing for COVID-19.
The announcement was made on Wednesday at a press conference held by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
According to the Chief Medical Officer Sharon Belmar-George, the equipment was procured with the support of the Ministry of Finance.
“One of the gaps that I had indicated was our lack of diagnostic capacity. Initially, our regional lab, The Caribbean Public Health Agency, did not have the capacity to test for COVID-19. About three weeks ago they developed the capacity,” said Belmar-George.
“Initially they were relying on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Once they got testing capacity it reduced wait times from 7 days to 48 hours for results,” added Belmar-George.
Though the testing equipment has arrived, Belmar-George, noted that it would not be before the week of March 23 that the country’s diagnostic capabilities would be fully functional, as staff would have to be trained.