The CDC (Center for Disease and Control Prevention) requires all persons entering the USA to get tested for the COVID 19 virus before 3 days of returning to the USA. The results of PCR tests or the rapid antigen tests will be accepted.
In response to this requirement, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government has approved the private medical facilities along with six (6) resorts to conduct the testing. With the exception of Beaches that has full time nurses, this is an insult and a slap in the face to the medical profession by allowing the resorts to conduct testing at their facilities without a health practitioner. The Government has underestimated the ability and the capacity of the private medical facilities.
Rapid Antigen tests
The rapid antigen tests are not reliable but yet we approve for it to be taken in the TCI because the CDC is accepting the results. Ironically, based on one of the TCIG press release, it is mentioned that this rapid testing is not approved by the UK. Isn’t the Turks and Caicos Islands an overseas territory of the UK, then why are we conducting tests that they do not approve? Whose standards are we adhering to?
The rapid antigen test should be for professional use only and it should be done by a health professional. It is alleged that some of these resorts are not using a health professional but are using their staff whom they claimed received training.
Allowing resorts to conduct these testing is very hypocritical, unacceptable and unprofessional. Our standards should not be compromise to accommodate anyone or anything. I used the word hypocritical because I recalled in early 2020, when one of our local labs wanted to conduct the antibody testing, he underwent so much scrutiny and rejection but here we are allowing resorts with no health staff to conduct these rapid antigen testing. I used the word unprofessional because health professionals must be ethical and professional in carrying out their roles. How do we know that these non-professional staff are being ethical and professional in their tasks?
With the rapid increase in the number of COVID 19 cases in the Turks and Caicos, the Government could have use this requirement by the USA to test individuals as an opportunity to gather more information. After all, some of visitors that come here could have the virus too and we do not know because the testing requirement is 5 days before you arrive in TCI. Information gathering can be done through the local medical facilities and the public labs. If individuals are tested positive at these resorts, what is done with the information?
I highly recommend that only health professionals should be conducting these tests. The local facilities have the capacity to test the visitors. This leads to another question. Were the local facilities ask about capacity? The hotels could have collaborated with the local facilities who in turn could have a health professional station at the hotel to conduct the testing. This in itself is a great opportunity for the local facilities to make some additional revenue as many of them perhaps are struggling due to the impact of COVID 19. People are using the public facilities more since they do not have the money to go to the private facilities. Therefore, let the tourists use the private facilities.
If the hotels do not want this option, then let them hire a full time health staff similar to what Beaches has done. There are many retired nurses in the country who are still versed in their field.
Let me clear, I am not against the resorts. I am against the process. I am a Certified Public Accountant. If you are not a CPA, you cannot sign off on audited or reviewed statements. You must be a CPA. Likewise, you should be a health professional to conduct the COVID 19 testing especially given that this is something new to the world. This is not a home pregnancy test and even those that take the home pregnancy test still go to a health professional for confirmation.
Let us stop taking short cuts and lowering our standards to please the masses. Be firm and never compromise your standards. If a Government wants to uplift and empower the people then allow the experts to do their jobs rather than allowing the non-experts to compete with those who are experts.