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Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh, MP, responds to a question posed by Sen Wade Mark during the sitting of the Senate, yesterday.

The Health Ministry is examining the feasibility of doing drive-through COVID-19 testing since the ministry now has rapid antigen testing ability.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh indicated this in the Senate yesterday in response to various Opposition United National Congress queries.

Deyalsingh said the ministry is now doing training and validation of the rapid antigen tests at the Tobago, Sangre Grande and Trinidad Public Health lab . When the ministry is comfortable the antigen testing matches the currently used PCR testing, these antigen tests will be installed at Accident and Emergency units, including at Couva, Rio Claro and other places.

Deyalsingh couldn’t say immediately when the validation and training will be completed. Antigen test kits were bought through the Pan American Health Organisation, he said.

Deyalsingh also said the T&T Police Service’s monitoring of self-isolating patients was largely effective except with one or two people.

He noted that a Point Fortin man under quarantine had broken this to go to the gym twice.

“I understand he will be charged,” Deyalsingh added.

On queries about the handling of prisoners with COVID-19, Government Senator Clarence Rambharat detailed measures, including saying that there is a space for ill inmates away from other prisoners.

Deyalsingh also listed the 18 funeral homes handling funerals of COVID deceased. He said costs range from $1,500 to $7, 575 and are borne by the relevant regional health authorities and families.

Asked about a $16,000 bill a family was allegedly asked to pay, he said he’d examine it if the information was received.

One more virus death, toll now 113

The Ministry of Health yesterday confirmed that one more person had died from COVID-19, taking the overall toll to 113. The person was identified as an elderly female with co-morbidities.

The ministry also confirmed 39 additional infections yesterday from samples taken between November 14 and 16. This brought the total number of infected people since March 12 to 6,135.

Twenty people were also released from the ministry’s care yesterday. These releases brought the number of people to recover from the virus locally to 5,460.

The recently-confirmed infections and releases brought the number of active cases up to 562 – 36 in hospitals, 25 in step-down/transitional facilities and 462 in home self-isolation. However, of these in home self-isolation 66 are within the prison system. There were also 215 people in state quarantine facilities.