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Mar 17, 2020

No COVID-19 in Belize; MOH to Acquire More Testing Kits

Today, the Ministry of Health held a sensitization webcast session on COVID-19. The session, as we’ve reported, is for the public to ask questions directly to health officials in an effort to raise awareness of local efforts and stamp out myths and rumours.  In today’s video cast, Director of Health Services Doctor Marvin Manzanero reported that there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 in Belize. As a part of its preparation, the Ministry of Health met with the central lab to discuss testing and other screening methods. Doctor Manzanero announced during the session that the government is getting more testing kits to step up its screening capabilities.

 

Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“I can confirm that we don’t have any case of COVID-19. That means we still remain – that at least we haven’t detected any case. We are just coming out of a meeting with the persons from the Central Medical Laboratory because I know that there are concerns about what kind of test that we are doing and why we are negative and that kind of situation. So, I think we have ironed out the issues with the lab personnel and what kind of screening that we are actually going to be doing to try to see if we can do a more active surveillance in that regard. In terms of the lab, we are going to be sending ten of the samples that have been tested for COVID-19 to the CDC, as a quality control measure. In discussions with the lab, we have also agreed to screen the patients we have in our health system who are critically ill and run parallel tests wherever they are in country, as we try to do active case seeking in that regard. We have also, through PAHO yesterday gotten PPE kits and those are being stored at a central warehouse in Belmopan. We also have gotten testing kits for COVID-19. We just reviewed those with the lab; because even though we have three kits with ninety-six tests, I have confirmed that out of that you are able to run sixty-three tests because you use controls every time you run any COVID-19 test. So, that in point of fact, we have a hundred and eighty nine tests in country now. We have also ordered a thousand more test kits and that would give us the capacity to run six hundred and thirty more tests. The approximate cost of six hundred and thirty tests is twenty-two thousand Belize dollars. That money is wired directly to the Rush Group of Companies, so it is not any intermediary company getting that. The projection that we have right now is that we have to order three thousand more test kits and as I said it doesn’t mean you are going to get three thousand tests because you have to do controls in that regard.”

 

The Ministry of Health says that CARPHA has also made available to each country in the region, the opportunity to do twenty more confirmatory tests per week.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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