Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee is advising members of the public to continue to follow all COVID-19 health protocols even if they are cleared based on government’s self-assessment tool for the virus.

More than 4,214 people have used the online tool, which was launched on 30 March.

“That’s pretty amazing,” Lee said as he responded to queries from the Cayman Compass on the use of the tool.

It was developed by the Ministry of Health, Public Health Department and e-Government to help determine whether an individual may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. The tool provides a quick alternative to the flu hotlines operated by the Health Services Authority for those wishing to check if their symptoms match those of coronavirus.

However, Lee cautioned that the tool is not diagnostic.

“This is a tool to help us answer some of your questions at most of the steps where, if there are any concerns at all, it points you on to a healthcare provider or the flu hotline,” he said.

The self-assessment begins by asking the individual for their symptoms, followed by a series of questions to determine whether they should seek further medical assessment.

It can be found on www.gov.ky/coronavirus. The questions can be completed in less than five minutes.

Government has assured that no personal information is collected, and the tool is completely confidential.

Anyone who has symptoms – including a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing – should self-isolate for 14 days, health officials have advised.

Individuals who are displaying coronavirus symptoms are still being asked to call the flu hotline on 1-800-534-8600, 947-3077 or 925-6327 in order for the correct testing procedures to be arranged.

HSA lab only approved testing body

Even though CTMH Doctors Hospital is continuing its preparation to conduct COVID-19 testing, Lee said on Tuesday that at the moment the HSA remains the only accredited lab able to do the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

Lee, responding to queries from the media at Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing, said, there are a great deal of steps to be taken for testing to be approved and “at every step there must be appropriate quality checks and quality control checks in order that we can trust the results that come out”.

He said for now the HSA remains the only enterprise approved to test with the PCR and any other techniques.

“The Doctors Hospital is working towards getting that same PCR system up and running. Health City [does] not have the ability to do the polymerase chain reaction test; they don’t have the machine and I don’t think they have any intention to do so in the short term,” he said.

While Health City may not have the equipment, Lee said, they do have the laboratory skills and the laboratory tech equipment “such as the correct level of Cabinet to deal with biohazardous material”.

“And so, they may be able to help with some steps in order that we will get much more of a factory sort of conveyor belt-type process to process things,” he said.

Cayman received 1,700 test kits on Monday on the British Airways flight. On Wednesday, 165,000 test kits from South Korea arrived by private plane and another 35,000 are expected to arrive on island in the near future.

Lee said he is hopeful that Cayman can start testing its frontline workers.

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