by JP Schwmon #SituationUpdates
Persons across St. Vincent and the Grenadines can now test for the COVID-19 virus in the comfort of their own homes. Although this new approach is being rolled out for a temporary period, local health authorities would accept the results –an official Health Ministry release confirms.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment advised, “that home rapid antigen tests should be accepted as sufficient for the diagnosis of COVID-19” between January 3 – January 17.
During that time no further testing would be required if anyone presents a positive rapid antigen home test result. Positive results would be registered by health care providers and reported to the National Epidemiologist.
According to the AARP.Org a home rapid antigen test “can determine whether you’re infected with the coronavirus by way of a sample swabbed from your nose. These tests … work by looking for the presence of specific proteins associated with the coronavirus. If they are detected, a positive result appears on a test strip in a matter of minutes, much like a home pregnancy test.”
Vaccinated persons with positive results and who do not present COVID-19 related symptoms must wait five days before they are cleared from the prescribed isolation. Unvaccinated COVID-19 positive patients must follow the recommended 14 days period, the release also noted.
Once a positive result is recorded, affected persons “are asked to call their nearest flu clinic or private health care provider to log their information which will facilitate the required sick leave and NIS documents needed.”
If symptoms worsen in persons who test positive for the COVID-19 virus at home, they are encouraged to contact their nearest flu clinic or private healthcare provider for assessment, as soon as possible, “as persons can deteriorate rapidly if left unmanaged.”
Only home rapid antigen tests that are listed by the World Health Organisation, the Food and Drug Administration and/or the European Union are approved for use in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the period.
These kits should also be in use in the country in which they were manufactured, to qualify for use in SVG.
Four (4) brands are currently in use across the local public health system by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment; they include: Standard Q, Abbott, Zhenrui and Roche.
It is unclear if this new measure was adopted in response to reported rapid antigen testing kit shortages at health centres nationwide. The MoHWE has undertaken, according to the release, “to monitor the situation and provide further guidance and updates where necessary.”