Bermuda unveils new COVID-19 testing lab, begins aggressive testing

20-04-2020

Bermuda has unveiled a new COVID-19 testing lab, taking the island’s testing capacity up to more than 200 tests per day.

The Bermuda Government Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory (MDL), under the supervision of Dr. Carika Weldon, complements the testing already being done by Helix Laboratory, which is operated by Dr. Desiree Spriggs. Once both facilities are fully staffed Bermuda will be able to conduct around 900 tests per day.

Both facilities will work within the public health guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health.

David Burt, Bermuda’s Premier, said the new facility allows Bermuda to commence an aggressive testing strategy. 

Bermuda currently has the test kits to complete 800 more tests, with 2,000 additional testing kits due to arrive in Bermuda on April 20. A further 10,000 testing kits have been purchased from the Cayman Islands and will arrive on the airbridge flight from London on April 24. With additional parts for test kits arriving this week and beyond, Bermuda will soon have around 40,000 additional test kits, Burt said. 

“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,” added Burt. 

Meanwhile, the government has amended its shelter in place rules to allow more businesses to apply to operate under certain restrictions, effective from April 20. Businesses that are eligible to apply for a licence to operate include roadside sales by a licensed fisherman or farmer; laundromats; pet shops; hardware and paint stores; plant nurseries; shipping and freight companies; and delivery services, including taxis.

None of these businesses are permitted to operate without written authorization from the Ministry of National Security.

COVID-19, David Burt, Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, Helix Laboratory

Bermuda Re