COVID-19 tests so far in 2022 almost exceed all tests done in 2020 – Health Minister

As COVID-19 cases continue to climb across the country, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, MP has reaffirmed that the government is in full control of the increased demand for testing.

Dr Anthony said Wednesday, that the surge is not unique to Guyana, as Omicron has presented itself as a highly transmissible variant and has been confirmed in over 55 countries worldwide.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, MP

The ministry has already increased its rate of testing 20 times more, when compared to 2020.

Official reports from the ministry revealed that in 2020, the health sector conducted a total of 38,548 tests. From January 1 to January 12, 2022, a whopping 30, 539 tests were done.

This highlights that 79 per cent of almost all tests conducted in the year 2020 have been done in the first two weeks of 2022. Approximately 2,000 tests are also being conducted daily.

Though the ministry has already extended its capacity to accommodate the rise in need for COVID-19 testing, Minister Anthony noted that persons who do not need to be tested are putting unnecessary pressure on the system.

“Our staff, they’ve been working and managing the volumes of tests that we are doing, but at the same time we believe that we need to look at those persons who really require the tests, and not for some individual to determine this is the test that they need and they come and ask for that test,” the minister explained.

This information, coupled with recommendations and guidelines outlined by international health agencies, is what the minister says has guided the implementation of new measures for testing.

“Based on the science, and based on guidelines that other more stringent authorities have put out, such as the CDC in the United States, the Canadian health authorities, the UK public health authorities, we have reviewed all these guidelines…these are the conditions many countries are setting now,” he explained.

“I suspect for the next couple of weeks we will still continue to have a high volume of tests and we are capable of handling it, but we want the tests to be for those who really need them,” the minister reiterated.

Dr Anthony also took the opportunity to urge citizens to utilise the other testing facilities that are available around Georgetown and its surrounding areas, as opposed to crowding one facility.

“While some people have focused on, let’s say the Umana Yana, where they have gone to get tested because it’s probably very central, in Georgetown, there are a number of other testing sites…we have, in Georgetown and its environs…in eight of those, we are offering testing,” Dr Anthony noted.