The Health Services Subcommittee of the National Emergency Management Committee has noted with concern the allegations made by a 22 year old Saint Lucian national who entered St. Vincent and the Grenadines on July 19, 2020, claiming that local health authorities erred with her COVID-19 tests results.
“The Health Authorities….have a mistake…that it was a mistake…I never had covid…I never had the virus in the first place…it must be a misunderstanding when they did the test at the airport, ” the young lady was quoted as saying.
The Saint Lucian national was subjected to the required entry screening by Port Health Officers on arrival at the AIA on July 19, 2020. This screening included a nasopharyngeal swab for a SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test. This swab was sent to the CARPHA Public Health Laboratory in Trinidad on July 20, 2020, and a positive result was returned to the Health Services Subcommitee on July 21, 2020.
The Saint. Lucian national was informed of the results of her test and advised to isolate at home as is the norm for asymptomatic COVID-19 cases. The Saint Lucian Health Authorities were also informed as required by Public Health protocols, and a copy of the CARPHA result was sent to them.
As is normal in our multi-tiered verification process, a second PCR test was done on July 23, 2020 and another on the July 27. Both were sent to CARPHA for SARS- CoV-2 testing. Both were reported on July 29 as negative for SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. The Saint Lucian was informed of these results.
This sequence of positive to negative PCR results for SARS-CoV-2 is not unusual, as an individual may test positive at the end of their disease, so that subsequent tests are negative.
Additionally, the absence of “sickness” (symptoms) in a person who is COVID-19 positive is a well-established fact.
The suggestion that the absence of symptoms proves that an individual does not have COVID-19, points to the urgent need for continuing education of individuals who hold these myths and misconceptions about COVID-19.