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Covid-19 Testing for Asymptomatic People

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ASYMPTOMATIC people are being tested when there is a possibility of exposure to Covid-19.

In the past both Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram had said that based on World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) guidelines, testing for Covid-19 in Trinidad and Tobago was done only when a person was symptomatic – meaning he/she had flu-like symptoms.


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Dr Parasram said initial testing would have been done to people who would have shown signs and symptoms but later this was changed as the epidemic progressed to include people who did not have any history of travel when there were local cases.

He said testing was now done around all positive cases.

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But questions have been raised in some quarters that TT was not doing enough testing when compared to countries with similar populations.

Questioned at the virtual media conference on Monday by AZPNews.com about whether the current level of testing was adequate, Deyalsingh said there was no established standard for testing.

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He said in Trinidad and Tobago the rate of testing was about 6,000 people per million of the population and he compared this to 181,298 people per million in the United States, 242,929 people per million in the United Kingdom, 61,573 people per million in Brazil and 3,856 people per million in Ethiopia.

Technical Director, Epidemiology at the Ministry of Health Dr Avery Hinds said, “We have three sets of people being tested.

“We have people we know directly in contact with a case and those people are tested whether they are symptomatic or not.

“We have the people who are symptomatic and are not necessary known to be in contact with a case but are presented for community testing.

“And we have the people who are coming in via the repatriation process and they are being tested again – symptomatic or not.”

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Dr Hinds noted that the ministry was not excluding asymptomatic people but would test when there was a relevant exposure or a reasonable belief of a relevant exposure.


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