MINISTRY OF HEALTH UPDATES THE PUBLIC ON TESTING FOR COVID-19 IN THE TCI
The general public is reminded that to date, only one laboratory within the TCI outside of the National Public Health Laboratory has approval to carry out in country testing for Covid-19.
In addition to this laboratory, four other health care facilities have applied for and received approval to carry out testing through the referral of samples either overseas or to the approved local laboratory.
Under the Public and Environmental Health (Testing of COVID-19) Regulations 2020 which were published in the Turks and Caicos Islands Gazette on 1st May 2020, volume 171 no. 30, the requirements for testing for Covid-19 are laid out including the application and approval process for facilities who may wish to test for Covid-19 in the Turks and Caicos Islands or to refer samples overseas for testing.
Other applications are currently under review.
The Testing Regulations set out the requirements which need to be met to establish testing outside of the National Public Health Laboratory. Such testing requirements are to ensure that all procedures are validated for in country testing and that all safety procedures are in place for the proper collection of specimens as well as processing, disposal, packaging and transportation, whether the tests are carried out locally or sent overseas for testing.
The testing for Covid-19 which is carried out by the National Public Health Laboratory is done via PCR testing which is the accepted gold standard and is carried out in accordance with the Testing Strategy which prioritizes testing samples for suspected cases of Covid-19, contacts of cases, persons traveling overseas for Treatment Abroad and Front-Line workers as outlined in the Testing Strategy.
The MOH is aware of recent developments as it relates to requirements for travelers entering the US, Canada and UK to provide negative Covid-19 test results in order to travel. Whilst, the National Public Health Laboratory does not have the capacity to carry out this level of testing, a working group has been tasked with developing testing for travelers. Information on this will be issued in due course.
Any testing which is carried out without the relevant written approval of the Ministry of Health is considered an offence in accordance with the Public and Environmental Health (Testing of COVID-19) Regulations 2020.