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Gail Alexander

Results of COVID-19 testing coming from some locations in T&T aren’t being conveyed immediately to those who’ve tested – and some people are getting the virus, being hospitalised and recovering even before they receive their results.

Some of the problems with awaiting test results were outlined yesterday, including by one southerner who, along with a group of others, had tested for COVID several weeks ago.

Yesterday, the Health Ministry stated that the number of samples which have so far tested positive at public and private facilities is 1,797 while the total number of active cases is 1,085.

In its two advisories yesterday, the ministry said an additional 38 people had tested positive for the virus and five more people have died, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths to 27.

The person who spoke to the T&T Guardian on condition of anonymity said: “We were all tested after someone developed symptoms. Several people tested at different health centres (named) and places and those people finally got their results last Sunday. But I was home healthy as ever without symptoms and still hadn’t gotten my results, weeks later.

“I understand it may take long but while I was waiting home, I wasn’t being paid for the time off and I have bills to pay, and money is being lost.

“However, I was subsequently told by the authorities that my results did finally come from the place where I did it and I’m negative. But while the people who contacted me have apologised for the delay, they said they didn’t know why my results were not ever conveyed to me. I hope whatever situation that is causing these matters are fixed so that others won’t have to go through my situation.

“It caused me a lot of anxiety. Luckily my employers are very understanding of the situation.”

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh last week apologised for the delays in the delivery of test results, admitting there was a backlog they were trying to clear.

Former UNC Tabaquite MP Suruj Rambachan, who said he was speaking on behalf of people like that individual, also said, “Why is the wait so long …. that is something which must be explored and explained properly to the public so they will understand and the people around them will also understand and fears will lessen.”

UNC MP Roodal Moonilal also acknowledged the long wait for getting results.

He added, “We have had cases in my constituency where one person at least did their test, developed the virus and got over in the space of time even before they received their test results.”

He said one person who had the experience was tested, warded at the Couva Hospital and later the Debe step-down facility after and they were sent back home and then the test results came after they got over the virus. That person was in their 20s, he noted.

Moonilal said MPs are now finalising opening up of their constituency offices and due to the COVID environment, he will be having Zoom conferences and requesting written submissions from businesspeople and other sectors on their thoughts for the 2021 Budget, due soon.