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How Does COVID-19 Testing Work?

Cayman Islands Government
Published: May 7 2020
Last Updated: February 2, 2022

Here's how testing for COVID-19 works in the Cayman Islands. 

Who Can Get Tested For COVID-19?

In the Cayman Islands, COVID-19 testing is currently available to all members of the public.

While the most common symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing, fever and loss of smell and taste, we have also had asymptomatic people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands. The word asymptomatic means that you have no symptoms at all; therefore, the regular symptoms we would expect are not present and the person may otherwise feel and look healthy but still be infectious.

With this in mind, the Government is also screening healthy individuals from a cross-section of the population to allow us to understand the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

Nonetheless, if you believe you have COVID-19, please contact your General Practitioner by telephone.

Public Health or your GP can advise you if you need a test, and direct you on how to book this.

You can visit https://www.hsa.ky/appointment/ to book your free COVID-19 test online.

 

Who pays for testing?

On Friday, 14 January 2022, Cabinet has directed that providers of COVID-19 testing may require payment from individuals and businesses engaging in voluntary testing.

Only where the Public Health Department has required that testing take place, such as isolation/quarantine exit testing or PCR confirmation of a positive lateral flow test, will the cost be borne by Government.

Read more here.

 

How Are The COVID-19 Tests Done?

The tests are done by taking a swab using what looks like a long cotton bud in the nose or throat. The swab is then sent to a lab for testing in one of a number of hospitals in the Cayman Islands.  

When Will Public Health Contact Me For Further Testing After I've Been Told To Isolate?

Public Health will contact COVID-19 positive individuals the day before they are due for exit PCR testing. Those who have reached the end of their isolation period, can attend any of the daily exit PCR testing clinics:

  • Truman Bodden Sports Complex (parking lot drive-thru) – 7am – 11am
  • Ed Bush Sports Complex – 1pm – 3pm
  • Bodden Town Civic Centre – 1pm – 3pm

Once tested, individuals must return home and isolate until further instruction.

  • Fully vaccinated individuals are required to isolate for 6 days, with PCR test on day 7*
  • Individuals not fully vaccinated are required to isolate for 9 days, with PCR test on day 10*

Note: The day of your original PCR test is considered Day 0.

Individuals due for exit PCR testing include:

  • Persons who tested positive
  • Unvaccinated adult (18+) household members of a positive (in the above categories)

Fully vaccinated persons (or unvaccinated children) eligible and currently testing negative for daily lateral flow testing, do not need a PCR test. 


What is the criteria for the release of individuals from isolation?

The new criteria stipulate mandatory requirements in three areas:

  • isolation of 7 days for vaccinated or 10 days for unvaccinated,
  • asymptomatic for the past 72 hours, and
  • a CT value is 32 or over reflected on the PCR test results received via email.

Persons meeting the above criteria with a positive PCR exit test should contact the flu hotline at 1-800-534-8600 or 947-3077 for a telephonic assessment.

A CT value represents the viral load of COVID-19, or the prevalence of the virus is in an individual’s system. The lower the CT value, the higher the viral load, meaning an individual is more infectious and likely to transmit the disease to others. The higher the CT value, the less infectious (ie: value of 32 and over).

“The new criteria for isolation release will allow some persons to get back to work & school, though still testing positive via PCR but not contagious and therefore not a public health risk to the community,” said Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, Medical Officer of Health.

The mandatory requirement for exit PCR tests remains in effect and persons are not permitted to release themselves from isolation.

Isolation letters can be requested on this form – Click Here

How does exit testing work?

COVID-19 positive individuals, who have reached the end of their isolation period, can attend any of the daily exit PCR testing clinics below from 11am – 1pm.

  • Ed Bush Sports Complex
  • Bodden Town Civic Centre
  • South Sound Community Centre

Once tested, individuals must return home and isolate until further instruction.

  • Fully vaccinated individuals are required to isolate for 6 days, with PCR test on day 7*
  • Individuals not fully vaccinated are required to isolate for 9 days, with PCR test on day 10*
    Note: The day of your original PCR test is considered Day 0.

Individuals due for exit PCR testing include:

  • Persons who tested positive
  • Unvaccinated adult (18+) household members of a positive (in the above categories)

Fully vaccinated persons (or unvaccinated children) eligible and currently testing negative for daily lateral flow testing, do not need a PCR test.

The afternoon testing clinic is for exiting testing for community cases only. Individuals requiring regular PCR screening are encouraged to schedule an appointment online https://www.hsa.ky/appointment  or visit HSA’s COVID testing walk-in clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital Monday – Friday 7:30am – 12pm or Saturdays 10am – 12pm.

 

 

What Methods Of Testing For COVID-19 Are Offered In Cayman?

Right now, there are two main kinds of tests for COVID-19 available:

  • Rapid Antigen, which detects specific viral proteins present in a patient sample.
  • Genomic, which looks for the genetic material of a virus (also called molecular testing, using a polymerase chain reaction)
  • Immunological, which looks to see if your body has had an immune response to the virus (also known as serological)

 

Contact covidscreening@hsa.ky for further information.

 

More Questions?

Visit our FAQs page

Tags: testing