Second Covid 19 Testing Lab Is Operational

April 19, 2020

Two Covid-19 testing labs are now operational providing the island with the immediate ability to conduct more than 200 daily tests, the Government said this evening, adding that 2,000 testing kits will arrive in Bermuda tomorrow and 10,000 testing kits purchased from the Cayman Islands will arrive on the airbridge flight from London on Friday.

A Government spokesperson said, “The Government today announced that two COVID-19 testing labs are now operational, providing the island with the immediate ability to conduct more than 200 daily tests.

coronavirus testing swab Bermuda April 20 2020

“The two labs are Helix Laboratory, which is operated by Dr. Desiree Spriggs and the second, the Bermuda Government Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory [MDL] came on line this weekend under the supervision of Dr. Carika Weldon. The two labs, when fully staffed, can run over 900 tests a day. Both facilities will work within the strict public health guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health.”

Premier David Burt stated, “Dr. Spriggs and the Helix team are to be commended for their work pioneering local testing in Bermuda. To expand our testing ability, the new lab will complement the work already being done by Helix. Both labs are operational and have test kits and additional supplies. Bermuda currently has the test kits to complete 800 more tests.

“Let me speak to Bermuda’s COVID-19 testing capability and what we can expect in the coming weeks. There are currently 10,000 swabs in Bermuda, this allows us to swab 10,000 people.

“2,000 additional testing kits will arrive in Bermuda tomorrow – 20 April 2020. 10,000 testing kits purchased from the Cayman Islands will arrive on the airbridge flight from London on Friday, 24 April. Additional tests kit parts, which were secured by Dr. Weldon, arrived with her on the airbridge flight on 6 April.

“The balance of the shipment, which will give the island the ability to complete 40,000 additional tests, will begin arriving on the flight from London this coming Friday.

“The bottom line is Bermuda has sufficient testing kits and swabs to fully execute our aggressive testing strategy. This next week we will focus on testing the right people, including healthcare professionals, our vulnerable in seniors’ homes, contacts of persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 and our essential workers.

“Thanks to the hard work of the team at the Ministry of Health we are now able to dramatically increase the number of people who can be tested in Bermuda for COVID-19.

“The increased testing capabilities means our testing throughput is enhanced as we seek to combat this disease and gradually reopen our economy. Testing is key to reopening our economy, and we now have the capacity to test as many persons as we will need to.”

The Premier continued, “The Ministry of Health, has developed exit protocols for those who are housed in the government quarantine facilities as their period of quarantine ends.

“Out of an abundance of caution, everyone who is currently in a government quarantine facility has been tested for COVID-19, ahead of them returning to their respective homes. If, after being tested, a person is found to be confirmed positive with COVID-19, they will be isolated appropriately.

“Throughout the day today, 190 samples were taken from individuals who are in six government quarantine facilities.

“The MDL will complete the tests and supply the results to the Ministry of Health this evening. Once the test results are received, each person will be given their results by a public health officer, in confidence.

“As of 3pm today, there are no new test results to report. The numbers on remain unchanged. The Minister of Health will provide the results of these 190 tests and any additional results during the press conference tomorrow.”

The Premier concluded, “There are many people who must be thanked for working overnight and throughout the day today to quickly and efficiently collect the samples. First, Dr. Kimesha Notice and her team at the Ministry of Health, together with private sector doctors and dentists who stepped forward to assist with the process.

“Thanks also to the Ministry of National Security’s Disaster Risk Reduction Mitigation [DRRM] team for coordinating residents in the quarantine facility so they could all be tested. Thank you also to the teams at Public Works for ensuring the construction required at the second lab meets WHO/PAHO standards and was completed to open today.

“We have many people working hard to win our battle with COVID-19. To all the Minsters, public officers and members of the public who worked to get the second lab up and completed the exercise to collect 190 samples in one day; and to the technicians currently processing the tests, I am humbled by your dedication. Today is a milestone in Bermuda’s fight against COVID-19 and I look forward to updating the public further at tomorrow’s press conference.”

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Comments (12)

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  1. Boing says:

    We are not going to do 200 testes a day though are we! What we need is capacity to treat the Covid 19 patients, that means ventilators and beds. Does this new lab keep profits from testing, or this is a non profit operation to meet a people’s need.?

  2. Vortex says:

    Its hard to trust this talk anymore, is this another false dawn? To date we have conducted 638 tests – that’s in 6 weeks, its tough to buy we will now do 200 a day.

    Lots of people saying Burt is an impressive speaker – and he is, but is he a leader? Because all the countries who are winning the battle are doing so with testing, not speeches. Including our friends 700 miles away.

    • Onion Juice says:

      I think he is doing better then that @$$#0£€ with orange hair!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Mark says:

        Not really, much like you Burt is 10 steps behind at best.

        • Jus' Wonderin' says:

          Generally not a fan of Burt….but OJ is right he’s waay better than Trump. Hope you’re joking lmfaooo

    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      Which countries are winning the battle?

      • Question says:

        Some countries have actually been doing aggressive testing, rather than just talking about it.

  3. Thankful says:

    Thank you for this great news

  4. Pitts Bay says:

    “Bermuda currently has the test kits to complete 800 more tests.”

    So, we have conducted 638 and currently have the ability for another 800 and more ability soon. While appreciate that swabs and other essentials are required, the numbers of testing kits being bandied around was 40,000 from a secret benefactor, 35,000 being purchased from the Cayman Islands and 2000 per week from the UK. That is a long way off from the approx 638 tested and 800 further capacity as of yesterday.

    Another thought – didn’t the Gov’t say we already had “aggressive testing” taking place, but now we are going to “fully execute our aggressive testing strategy”.

    Why does the Gov’t surround facts with so many extraneous words – are they trying to confuse everyone?, hide facts in hyperbole?

    We are slowly (ever so slowly) getting the facts on testing ability, but why does it have to be so difficult to get those facts.

    Why the BS? It is not an election year!, they have a significant majority such that they can pass any legislation they want – I just don’t get it!

  5. Jack says:

    I am delighted to hear that it is all finally starting to come together. The lockdown is a pain for everybody and it was never going to end until they had sufficient testing capacity. So IF all of these 12,000 test kits arrive over the next few days and if they are of suitable standard to use then we have a strong chance of being able to start easing the lockdown on May 3rd which I am sure is something that everybody will be glad of. I think the premier has done a great job, I am an expat and I was always led to believe that the only party that cared about expats was the OBA, but I have to say that I have been impressed by Premier Burt and also Kim Wilson since day 1 of this pandemic. I only hope that the promised test kits arrive this week as there have been a few disappointments in this area to date. I am also wondering what the PPE situation is like. That is crucial to keep our health care workers safe and well and from what I hear it is very difficult to get any PPE at the moment unless you place a huge order which Bermuda cant really do. Maybe Bermuda should be partnering with other caribbean states to share a PPE order like what has happened with these test kits from Caymen.

  6. Kathy says:

    Compliments to the Premier and his team. Doing a very good job in a very difficult battle!