Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- St. Eustatius can now perform tests on COVID-19 without being dependent on St. Maarten for testing. The test capacity is located in the laboratory of the Queen Beatrix Medical Centre (QMBC).
The National Institute for Public Health and Environment in the Netherlands (RIVM) has procured the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test equipment for both St. Eustatius and Saba.
Starting this weekend St. Eustatius can conduct its own COVID-19 tests. Having the possibility to now independently test on COVID-19 is very important, especially in case of an outbreak on the island. The tests results will be available on the same day the test is conducted. Results can be in within 35-50 minutes.
The ability to perform tests on-island is a huge milestone for St. Eustatius as up till today tests had to be delivered to St. Maarten. And, depending on the available flights to transport the samples and the capacity in St. Maarten, it took 1-4 days to receive the test results.
A microbiologist from Curaçao, Mr. Radjin Steingrover, will train the staff members in the laboratory today on how to use the equipment and to ensure that the device was well placed and calibrated. The first group of persons that will be tested by the public health department are people that are currently in quarantine. The department will also start with source and contract tracing. The samples will be analyzed in the Queen Beatrix Medical Centre. The Public Health Department will receive the results and inform the persons tested.
The test capacity is also available for persons who plan to travel and who must be tested on COVID-19 as part of the entry requirements of a country. They can apply for a test at the Public Health Department. Doctor Sharda Baboe-Kalpoe of the St. Eustatius Health Care Foundation/Public Health Department and project leader, is very excited that Statia now has its own test capacity. “It’s like a dream come true. We have all worked so hard to get the device here on our island. Now we can test ourselves and have the results available on the same day.”