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COVID-19 FAQs: Testing & Treatment

Cayman Islands Government
Published: April 28 2020
Last Updated: January 21, 2022

Cayman Islands COVID-19 Testing & Treatment F.A.Qs

This section covers questions relating to the testing and treatment of COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands. Click the links below to skip to the relevant questions or scroll down to read more:

Testing For COVID-19

Treatment of COVID-19

  1. How is COVID-19 treated?
  2. Does the Health Services Authority have an isolated treatment centre?
  3. Will antibiotics work?
  4. Does the Cayman Islands have enough medicine?

What Should I Do If I Think I Have COVID-19?

If you suspect you may have COVID-19, or have been in contact with an individual who may have COVID-19, you should take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT). 

However, LFTs should not replace laboratory based molecular or polymerase chain reaction (“PCR”) testing, which provides the most accurate results for clinical diagnostic detection, but will successfully assist in quickly identifying positive cases, which means we can lower the impact of isolation of close contacts.  


Learn More About LFTs 


Call the 24-hour Flu Hotline on 1-800-534-8600 or 947-3077 (Digicel), or email flu@hsa.ky for advice. If you suspect you may have COVID-19, you are advised to take the following additional precautions:
  • Do not visit a medical centre or hospital unless it is an emergency, for example if you are having trouble breathing
  • Do not go to work
  • Do not use public transport
  • Do not use taxis
  • Do not go to school
  • Do not be in public areas


Is at home testing accepted?

Yes. As a part of the phased re-opening plan of our borders, The Cayman Islands Government has approved new testing methods to be added to our national protocols, to assist with the screening of COVID-19 in the community. This additional testing will be done through antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic or lateral flow tests (“LFTs”).

LFTs should not replace laboratory based molecular or polymerase chain reaction (“PCR”) testing, which provides the most accurate results for clinical diagnostic detection, but will successfully assist in quickly identifying positive cases, which means we can lower the impact of isolation of close contacts.

COVID-19 spreads rapidly, and can cause severe strain on healthcare systems and societal disruption. The use of LFTs assists in protecting our healthcare systems, and our community through quick identification via a more scalable and accessible option that does not create additional strain on the healthcare system.


Learn More About LFTs 




What Are The Criteria To Be pCR Tested? Who Can Be Tested?

In the Cayman Islands we allow clinicians to decide when it is appropriate to test a person for COVID-19 based on a wider set of rules than those laid out by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

In other words,  your doctor can now ask for a COVID-19 test even if you do not have the main symptoms for COVID-19, did not recently travel, or have had exposure from someone who tested positive.

If you suspect you may have COVID-19, and present with symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, please call the 24-hour Flu Hotline on 1-800-534-8600 or 947-3077 (Digicel), or email flu@hsa.ky

Additionally, anyone may register to be tested as part of the ongoing screening programme.


Register for COVID-19 Screening


How do I get my pCR test results?

You will be registered for the MyHSA Patient Portal when you are tested for COVID-19.

To access the MyHSA Patient Portal all you need is a smartphone or any other internet-enabled device. 

Follow these instructions to active your My HSA Patient Portal account.


Who Is Being PCR Tested For COVID-19 & Why?

We are testing two types of people for the COVID-19 virus:

  • those who have requested a test through their doctor or through a healthcare provider because they believe they are at risk of having COVID-19
  • healthy individuals in our community

We are testing or screening healthy individuals for COVID-19 in addition to those who have requested testing to help us better understand the rate of COVID-19 in our community.

  • We know that some people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic. This means they show different or no symptoms at all.
  • We know that COVID-19 can hide and incubate in communities.
  • We know that if we can identify where it is, and contact-trace (trace everyone in contact with somebody who has COVID-19) we can limit the spread, perhaps even stop it.

Because of this, we are screening healthy people so that we can know how common COVID-19 is in the community in healthy people and better contain the virus.

By screening our community, we can make sure that COVID-19 has nowhere to hide.

Register for COVID-19 Screening

What's Involved In PCR Testing For COVID-19?

In the Cayman Islands the tests are done by taking a swab using what looks like a long Q-tip in the nose or throat and rotate the swab for a quick 15 seconds. The swab is then sent off to a lab for testing in one of a number of hospitals in the Cayman Islands. 

If I Test Negative Can I Still Have Or Get It?

The test will show only whether you are currently infected with the COVID-19 virus. It will not show whether you had the virus in the past.

Is PCR Testing Free?

No. 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.

Otherwise, testing for the COVID-19 virus in the Cayman Islands is at cost to the individual being tested. The Health Services Authority is offering PCR testing for CI$75.00 and LFT testing for CI$25.00.

Is PCR Testing Being Done Locally?

Yes. Though the first local samples were sent to the regional public health laboratory at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad, testing for the COVID-19 virus became available locally as of 16 March 2020. The introduction of local testing significantly reduced the waiting period for confirmation of COVID-19 from 5-10 days to 24-48 hours.

Local testing currently takes place at the internationally accredited forensic lab at the Health Services Authority (HSA), in partnership with the HSA clinical lab, and at Doctors Hospital. All inconclusive results and positive results are sent for cross checking to CARPHA, along with 10% of our negative cases as part of regular quality assurance measures. Currently, testing for COVID-19 is free.

Testing occurs in a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine. This is the recommended standard testing for COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Public Health England (PHE). Facilities with patients meeting the criteria to be tested for COVID-19 will collect the sample and send it to the HSA for testing.

Do We Have Enough PCR Testing Kits?

Currently the Cayman Islands has adequate supply of testing kits for COVID-19.

In the unlikely event that local testing is temporarily unavailable, including due to a lack of necessary reagents to conduct the tests, the Public Health Department will continue to send samples to the regional Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad.

It is also important to note that confirmation from laboratory testing that a patient has the COVID-19 virus does not change the care they will receive. 80% of persons who contract the virus will have mild symptoms which can be managed at home. For those who may require medical care, there is no particular treatment for this disease and patients will be provided with supportive care as required, such as oxygen to assist with breathing.

How many people are being tested in other countries?

The World Health Organization (WHO) is gathering data from around the world on confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) and deaths. These statistics and more are published in daily WHO Situation Reports. However, there is no central reporting system on the number of tests being conducted or what percentage of the population has been tested. Around the world, the number of tests and testing rates (i.e. persons tested as a percentage of the total population) vary widely for many different reasons. Not all countries and territories have official sources publishing the most up to date information on testing.

In the UK (which has a population of approximately 67 million), the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and the National Health Service work together to provide reliable and timely data, including details of testing, on their official website and other channels. Similarly, our Ministry of Health and Public Health Department work together to update our local dashboards regularly. You can always find the latest figures for the Cayman Islands on this website.

Do We Use Immunoglobulin Testing?

The Cayman Islands commenced immunoglobulin testing on Tuesday, 16 June 2020 as part of Public Health monitoring to COVID-19. Learn more.

At the moment, testing priority for immunoglobulin tests will be for healthcare workers, known positives and frontline workers who were already screened. Immunoglobulin tests will be conducted at the Health Services Authority and Health City Cayman Islands.

Once the priority groups have been tested, immunoglobulin testing will then be conducted across sample sized groups throughout the islands which will aim to give us a good indication on the level of infection in our community.

Although Public Health England (PHE) has recommended the use of immunoglobulin tests, this test does not necessarily mean that you are immune to COVID-19. It is important to note that the immunoglobulin testing give slightly different results to PCR machines as PCRs shows you have an active infection, whereas the immunoglobulins give a longer view over time of your past exposure.

The public is still recommended to follow public health precautionary measures to protect yourself and others.


How Is COVID-19 Treated?

Many people who contract COVID-19 will experience mild illness have a mild case and will recover within two weeks. However, elderly people and those with underlying health conditions are vulnerable to further complications and may require additional medical care if they contract the virus.
The Public Health Department will keep in touch with you if you have COVID-19 and they will monitor your symptoms. Should you require medical intervention they will let you know and make all the necessary arrangements for you to get care in a way that is safe for everyone.
If you think you have COVID-19 you should call the 24-hour Flu Hotline on 1-800-534-8600 or 947-3077 (Digicel), or email flu@hsa.ky for advice and:
  • Do not visit a medical centre or hospital unless it is an emergency, for example if you are having trouble breathing
  • Do not go to work
  • Do not use public transport
  • Do not use taxis
  • Do not go to school
  • Do not be in public areas

Does The Health Services Authority Have An Isolated Treatment Centre?

Yes. Cabinet has also approved funding for the Health Services Authority for the preparation and implementation of a COVID-19 treatment unit. 

Will Antibiotics Work?

Antibiotics do not work against COVID-19 as they work against bacteria and COVID-19 is caused by a virus.

However, antibiotics may be prescribed for some people with COVID-19 because there’s a risk the virus may make them more likely to get a bacterial infection as well.

Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness and supporting bodily functions.

Does The Cayman Islands Have Enough Medicine?

The Health Services Authority is preparing in much the same way as they would in the event of a hurricane with three months’ supply of all essential medicine and medical equipment.

The Ministry of Health continues to work closely with Public Health England to maintain a supply of essential items.


Tags: Testing & Treatment, FAQs, covid19 basics