Curfew continues; Covid-19 test can be done on island 

by Linda Straker

  • Grenada has ability to test for Covid-19
  • Citizens must be confined to their homes for 14 days under new regulation
  • The 24-hour mandatory curfew en extended until 20 April 2020

The 24-hour mandatory curfew which should have ended on 6 April has been extended until 20 April 2020. A collaboration between 4 public health agencies has given Grenada the ability to conduct testing for Covid-19, the coronavirus that has affected more than one million persons and caused the death of thousands around the world.

“Yes, we are in a position to do testing in Grenada,” Dr George Mitchell, Coordinator of the Covid Response Committee told journalists in a news conference. He was a member of the panel that comprised Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell and Acting Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin. “Once samples are collected, we can run them and have the result the same day,” he said, pointing out that all of the preliminary work and logistics have been put in place.

“I have been in contact with the folks at St George’s University (SGU) who, in collaboration with our lab techs at the hospital, have done the run or reruns of those machines that will be done for testing. All the controls have been done, so to speak and we are ready to go,” Dr Mitchell said.

Before the ability to test on island, Grenada’s samples were tested at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) laboratory in Trinidad. Samples were sent using LIAT or the Regional Security Services aircraft. The samples took at least 48 hours to return.

The PCR machines came to Grenada through a joint initiative of Canadian Bank Note and the National Lotteries Authority, while testing kits were donated by St George’s University. The other collaborating agencies are the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), the Windward Islands Research and Education Institute (WINDREF) also at SGU, and CARPHA.

Under the new regulation for the limited State of Emergency, citizens must be confined to their homes for 14 days. “This period is to ensure we do all that we can to save lives. We have entered a crucial phase in terms of the spread of Covid-19 in our country,” said the Covid Response Coordinator.

“We believe that if we take this measure that we are about to take or are taking, it will give us a really, really good opportunity to see where we are in terms of ensuring and minimising community spread,” he said.

Dr Mitchell explained that the time from incubation to displaying symptoms varies, and based on the time that those who were tested positive were confirmed, this new 14-day period will be crucial to identifying new cases of persons who were possibly exposed, and whose exposure could result in community spreading of the virus.

“So, during that period we are also going to use the opportunity to do some testing,” he said.

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