Philipsburg – November 25th, 2020. The General Audit Chamber submitted its report entitled “Mini audit on the possibilities of rapid testing on St. Maarten” to Parliament today. The report presents findings, analysis, and focal points related to the possibilities of rapid COVID-19 testing.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Government has expressed the need and desire to engage in broad coronavirus testing. The total amount of tests conducted represents about 14% of the population (excluding arriving passengers). Until recently, the gold standard PCR-test was exclusively used. These tests are very accurate, but also very technically complex, expensive and require persons to wait days for results.
In the interim, the Netherlands has evaluated several rapid tests and found them to be sufficiently reliable. Rapid tests are cheaper and can be administered more quickly on a large scale. Whether a person tests positive for the virus can be known within 15 minutes. The General Audit Chamber’s report presents the difference between the PCR-test and rapid tests, analyzes the costs, and explains the accuracy of each test and the possibilities of expanding the test capacity.
As the pandemic will likely last for some time, the Government faces an enormously difficult task of maintaining the balance between the well-being (health) and the welfare (economy of the country. The government’s focus is currently on testing travelers, patients, or potentially infected persons as part of contact tracing. The General Audit Chamber suggests increasing testing capacity and supporting economic activity using reliable rapid tests.
The report is published in both English and Dutch and is available on the website of the General Audit Chamber (www.arsxm.org) and via links on our social media platforms Facebook and LinkedIn.