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Community testing to be scaled back

An increase in the number of positive cases has led to delays in test results, the Ministry of Health said last night.

As a result community testing is to be scaled back and asymptomatic casual contacts and SafeKey testing will be de-prioritised for the next two weeks.

Priority for testing will be testing at the border, symptomatic cases and close contacts, exit from quarantine testing, and vulnerable and essential population surveillance such as rest homes, students, prisons, and healthcare workers.

Departing airline passengers to all destinations except Boston and Canada will also be allowed to use rapid antigen tests from later this week. These tests produce much faster results although they are considered to be slightly less accurate than the PCR tests currently used in Bermuda.

The Ministry said the Bermuda Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory had processed an “extraordinary amount of tests over the past two weeks”.

“The team has worked tirelessly, around the clock, to get results out as quickly as they can. However, the increasing number of positive results have led to delays, as they require further verification before issuance,” said a spokeswoman for the Ministry.

MDL has now completed testing for all of Friday’s samples and expected to have the results from Saturday’s testing complete this evening.

“The Government thanks the staff at MDL, the staff at the private labs, and all of the testing teams who have also had to manage increased demand for testing over the last few weeks,” added the spokeswoman.

“Bermuda does not have a shortage of testing supplies, but to be sure that we can maintain the reliability of our testing regime, community testing will be scaled back to enable the timely reporting of results.

“Priority for testing will be testing at the border, symptomatic cases and close contacts, exit from quarantine testing, and vulnerable/essential population surveillance – rest homes, students, prisons, healthcare workers.

“Asymptomatic casual contacts and SafeKey testing will be de-prioritised for the next two weeks as we aim to focus our testing resources on the testing required to end this outbreak.

“To reduce the number of tests that go to MDL, for destinations that accept rapid antigen tests for outbound tests – all flights except flights to Boston and Canada – the Ministry of Health will transition to these tests for outbound flights later this week. Further details will be announced in the coming days.”

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Published September 20, 2021 at 9:09 am (Updated September 20, 2021 at 9:09 am)

Community testing to be scaled back

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