Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital, Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, asked travellers to be patient until their test results are available.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — More than 6,000 COVID-19 tests have been processed as part of the robust efforts by health authorities in St. Kitts and Nevis to detect and control any cases of the novel coronavirus.

The opening of the borders to regional and international passengers on October 31, 2020, has seen a significant increase in the demand for COVID-19 testing. This has caused some delays in the return of test results, which is normally produced less than 24 hours after samples are taken.

Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital, Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, asked travellers to be patient on the January 6 National Emergency Operations Centre COVID-19 Briefing.

“Our staff has been working non-stop around the clock for the last nine months and are beginning to experience burnout,” said Dr. Wilkinson. “While we will continue to work tirelessly, it is becoming increasingly unrealistic to set a goal to deliver hundreds of results on the same day persons were tested as our capacity is being stretched.

“Inbound travellers often express frustration with the difficulty in obtaining a negative RT/PCR COVID-19 test result to submit to local authorities three days prior to the departure date from their point of origin,” he explained. “The complaints usually centre on the long waiting time in getting testing overseas.

“Yet some persons complain when they are tested on Day 14 of quarantine and their results are not back in under four hours,” said Dr. Wilkinson. “It is important to protect health workers, ensuring that they remain safe and healthy. I encourage inbound travellers to alter their plans to take any eventualities into account.

“Going forward, when you enter quarantine you should expect to be there for a minimum of 14 days and possibly an added 24 to 48 hours pending results,” he said. “We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause for all persons going into quarantine, but we will continue to deliver the best service possible with the health of our nation as our primary focus.”

St. Kitts and Nevis currently has two active cases of COVID-19. Since testing began in March 2020, there have been a total of 33 confirmed cases with no major hospitalizations and zero deaths.