Acting head of the National Public Health Laboratory, Dr Michelle Hamilton, has announced that Jamaica will be utilising the antigen testing method as of next month.
She was speaking during today’s COVID conversations digital press conference.
Dr Hamilton said this follows guidance received from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) on September 11, that the test can be reliably used for COVID testing.
She said the Ministry of Health and Wellness will through PAHO procure a large number of these tests with the assistance of the foreign Commonwealth Development office and the United Nations.
She added that an initial order of 80,000 testing kits is scheduled to arrive in the island in four weeks.
Dr Hamilton noted that the antigen testing is not as sensitive and so some cases identified as negative could be false negatives. She said, however, that repeat testing would be done.
The antigen testing is very simple and cost-effective but will require specialised training and daily reporting, Dr. Hamilton explained. She noted that the test will involve both the public and private health sector.