The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is taking the breach of protocol for the official line of communicating the test results of the country’s first COVID-19 positive case very seriously.
This was highlighted by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Mrs. Pauline McNeil, when responding to media enquiries into why test results had found its way into the public domain and parents of the first COVID-19 case were duly informed, during the COVID-19 oversight committee press conference yesterday.
Mrs. McNeil highlighted that protocol for communicating COVID-19 test results is in place for both positive and negative results, that is from the laboratory to the Incident Controller at the National Health Emergency Operation Centre to the MHMS Permanent Secretary and on to the COVID-19 oversight committee before reaching the public.
She explained that with this, the breach more likely comes from the laboratory and therefore the ministry would be revising its laboratory strategy for reporting of results to enhance confidentiality of results and this will be followed with serious discussions with lab officers in this regard.
The Permanent Secretary nevertheless confirmed that the parents of the individuals tested positive for COVID-19 were duly informed.
“Similarly to our students who tested positive for COVID-19 in the Philippines we have also informed the parents of the first COVID-19 case in country although contacting parents and guardians of the Philippine cases was a bit of a challenge due to lack of contacts”, explained Mrs. McNeil.
Mrs. McNeil also used the opportunity to inform that the Ministry is currently investigating how the particular student was tested positive after three consecutive negative COVID-19 tests prior to departing the Philippines.
“My health officers are working hard to obtain detail information which also includes the whereabouts of the patients in the last one or two days prior to boarding the flight in the Philippines, so we can address and thus prevent any further importation of COVID-19”, stated Mrs. McNeil.