Local lab can test for virus, but not many kits available

Local lab can test for virus, but not many kits available

PHILIPSBURG--Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) now has the ability to test for the coronavirus COVID-19, but not many testing kits are available.

“Today, we are able, through HCLS, the second lab in Cole Bay, to also test for COVID-19 patients. Yet we don’t have an endless amount of kits available,” Prime Minister and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Chairperson Silveria Jacobs said during a briefing that was broadcast on social media Wednesday.

Jacobs said she is happy to hear that Finance Minister Ardwell Irion will secure funding if testing kits can be found on the market. Government guaranteed funds for testing kits and HCLS will not charge government any extra fees for its personnel to conduct tests.

St. Maarten previously only had the ability to test for 19 other strains of cold and flu viruses. HCLS, a private laboratory, was recently vetted as a local testing agent for COVID-19.