COVID-19 testing now available in St Lucia

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.