Health Ministry officials put both residents and visitors alike on notice that “the highly contagious Omicron variant has led to a significant increase in positive pools of samples”, which has resulted in “increased wait times fo return results”.

According to the statement released this afternoon (Jan 2), it “is as a direct result of the significant increase positive cases” on-island.

As a result, a Ministry spokesperson advised that “these samples must be run twice to ensure accuracy”.

“This takes time and as a result there has been a delay with the results,” the spokesperson said.

“Test results are generally available within one day, but in the midst of this outbreak results will take longer due to the increase in positive cases.

“Coupled with that, US travellers must be tested relatively close to their travel date to meet the US Government’s requirement for pre-departure tests to be completed no more than a day before travel. This leaves little room for delay.

“To meet the demand for outbound testing the Ministry of Health will facilitate antigen testing at the airport for those who need it on their day of travel,” the spokesperson added.

“We are asking persons who will use the antigen testing at the airport to arrive at least four (4) hours before the recommended flight departure time. This will allow for an hour for the health team to administer the antigen test, receive and certify the results, and also permit passengers to attend to their regular departure procedures.”

It was also noted that the Ministry announced the processing of more than 13,700 tests   during their last COVID update on December 20, 2021.

“This is a considerable amount of testing and the team at MDL is working diligently to ensure accuracy and efficiency.”

The statement concluded: “As this is the holiday period, our healthcare staff are working to meet the demand and increase in testing volume. We continue to ask for the public’s patience and cooperation during this time.”