French side: COVID-19 tests to begin May 4 in three districts

The Collectivité announced Sunday that Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital will begin COVID-19 testing on May 4, starting in the districts of French Quarter, Sandy Ground and St. James.

The strategy to expand testing further among the population depends on availability of more testing equipment.

The hospital will provide two doctors trained in testing, a state-qualified nurse and the necessary administrative support. The Collectivité will ensure communication and will make premises available in the districts.

The two institutions have been working together with doctors and laboratories on solutions that can be made available quickly for screening of the virus in the population.

The screening operation is supported by the regional health authority ARS of Guadeloupe. This first phase of testing will take place from May 4 to May 18 and will be carried out in collaboration with district councils and associations and the Red Cross.

The aim is to identify individuals symptomatic with COVID-19, collect vital information, take polymerase chain reaction (PCR) samples via a nasal swab, manage the patient if the PCR result is positive, conduct contact tracing with family and friends, and, lastly, inform the population of developments and possible remedies.

The Collectivité noted some neighbourhoods in St. Martin are particularly affected by the constraints of overcrowded living conditions and unsuitable housing. Health professionals have noted that too many inhabitants in these neighbourhoods do not, or no longer consult doctors.

The lack of recourse to the health system can be explained by the difficulties of remote monitoring by an attending doctor, by transport difficulties linked to confinement, fear of going to the doctor’s surgery or hospital, fear of stigmatism from having the virus, or by financial and administrative challenges. As a result, the most serious cases of contamination with the virus arrive at the hospital late.

The Daily Herald.

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