The Ministry of Health is using two types of technology to test for COVID-19, both of which deliver results in varying amounts of hours. Manzanero expounded on the technology being used and the differences.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “One is the Gene Expert technology that uses cartridges from Cephid, that’s the company that produces it. Reminder to what we had said earlier in the year in March, April , May, the country had only been able to get 1,050 of those individual test items and when we had had discussions in May/June the company had said only PAHO would be the entity through which we can get those kits so even if you have money you would not be routinely be able to access them because each country was given a specific set of tests that they could do and that is based on the country’s population and the kind of epidemic they had. So even if people had money to buy testing kits you could only use a specific mechanism for those and the amount of kits available to Belize was 1,050; that may change but that is what we have for now. So that Gene Expert technology is a form of PCR. It’s a cartridge, it takes in four test that can be put out, it’s a quicker turnaround time. So once that result is positive that person is considered as a positive case. If it is negative we’re still going to go through a validation process which means it is put in the routine PCR machine that we are doing and that we have been using for testing that has given us more than 5,000 results so far. So that’s why with some cases you find out that the result is turning out to be quicker than with the routine PCR testing. What we have resorted to doing particular for Karl Heusner or for regional hospitals that have patients hospitalized and are not clear what the diagnosis is going to be those are the samples that are being passed through the Gene Expert technology. So Karl Heusner for example today has four patients that they consider suspect cases that don’t have a diagnosis those will go through PCR throughout the course of the afternoon and that takes out results in forty five – sixty minutes. So that’s why you have a quicker turn around time with that particular technology than if you do the PCR situation. That’s the same machine we used to make diagnosis on Friday with patients that had arrived critically ill at Karl Heusner and that’s the same technology we had used for the patient that arrived and we had made the diagnosis after he had died on Saturday night. In terms of what the press release is saying and notes that the reason why we had to put out that press release is because we had gotten note that somebody – and again we never got the full information that they had been accessing testing outside of the Ministry of Health and that they were paying for it- so we’re trying to keep, make sure that what we are doing is line with what is intended to be done.”