Rapid Antigen Tests Now Available in Jamaica

Rapid Antigen tests now available – COVID-19 tests can now be done in minutes and its results known in an hour after nine public health facilities across the island are now equipped to do rapid antigen testing as part of a one-month pilot project.

Spanish Town Hospital is among the list of nine public health facilities across the island have now been equipped to do rapid antigen testing.

During a demonstration of one of two rapid antigen tests available, a swab is taken from the suspected COVID-19 case and its droplet squeezed onto a device similar to a pregnancy test to give a reading.

When asked whether citizens can come to the hospital for testing, the health officials recommend against it. Instead, an appointment should be made to prevent exposure. Moreover, the tests are only for symptomatic people. 

Rapid antigen tests are recommended for the tourism industry for travelers as well as the sports industry and the business community.

The Ministry of Health says they’ve completed training of public health officials and will soon train private health workers so they can start offering the testing.

Rapid antigen testing will be free at public health facilities but for a fee with the private sector. Head of the Public Health Department, Dr. Michelle Hamilton says during the pilot phase, the ministry is seeking to have the information centralized as several private labs will opt to do testing.

Available sites are as follows:
  • Kingston Public Hospitals
  • Spanish Town Hospital
  • Bustamante Hospital for Children
  • Comprehensive Health Centre
  • Mandeville Regional Hospital
  • St. Ann’s Bay Hospital
  • Cornwall Regional Hospital
  • National Influenza Centre
  • National Influenza Centre
  • National Public Health Laboratory