Covid-19 Testing Facilities And Testing Approach On St Helena

Members of the Incident Executive Group (IEG) including the Chief Secretary, Head of the Governor’s Office, Attorney General and Public Health Committee Members, Councillors; Derek Thomas, Jeffery Ellick and Cruyff Buckley, visited the Hospital Laboratory to view the equipment and facilities available to test for COVID-19, on Thursday, 28 May 2020.

Testing procedures for COVID-19 on St Helena are led by Senior Biomedical Scientist, Geoffrey Benjamin. COVID-19 testing begins by collecting a nose or throat swab, carried out by a member of clinical staff, which will then be securely transported to the laboratory to begin the process of analysis – this will be done in a controlled environment sealed off from the remainder of the laboratory.

The Health Directorate has a RT-PCR testing machine. This machine is standard equipment used to detect genetic information and to test swab samples for COVID-19. A number of processes are involved, including inactivation, denaturing and amplification of the virus which is then analysed in the machine to give a final result.

Our ability to test for COVID-19 on the Island provides us with an extra level of assurance, in addition to the quarantine measures already in place.

Director of Health, Ted Rayment, said:
“I am very pleased we have testing capacity on St Helena which will enable health professionals to quickly know who has or has not acquired COVID-19.”

In addition to the RT-PCR machine, we have also received Point-of-Care tests, as recommended by Public Health England. These tests are suitable if an individual or a small number of people presenting with symptoms of COVID-19 need to be tested. Test results can be produced quickly and can take less time than the RT-PCR machine, allowing for timely treatment possibilities.

The current residents at Bradley’s Camp will all be tested before they are released from quarantine.

Chief Secretary, Susan O’Bey, commented:
“The ability to test for COVID-19 strengthens our defence against the virus. I was particularly impressed by the commitment of the laboratory staff who have worked long hours to ensure that the testing facilities meet the required health standards and would like to thank Senior Biomedical Scientist, Geoffrey Benjamin, and his team for their hard work. I would also like to thank colleagues in Public Health England who have been extremely supportive during this process.”

#StHelena #Coronavirus #COVID-19 #AltogetherHealthier

2 June 2020

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470