(CMR) 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 the country's national protocols to assist with the screening of COVID-19 in the community. 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. They 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.
According to the National Policy on the Use of Antigen-Detecting Rapid Diagnostic Tests, only LFTs that meet the criteria set out in the Control of COVID-19 (Testing) Regulations, 2021, should be supplied for the purpose of SARS-CoV-2 rapid testing in the Cayman Islands (including tests used in workplaces or homes for personal use).
Three LFTs brands have been initially identified for use by the Health Services Authority and were selected based on recommendations and proven outcomes as noted by the regulatory bodies at World Health Organization (WHO) and the UK Health Security Agency. These three are ACON Biotech Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test, Bioperfectus Technologies Novel Corona Virus Ag Rapid Test kit, and Hughes Veritas Rapid Antigen Test for SARSCoV-2.
Any other LFT brand selected for use by the Cayman Islands Government will undergo confirmatory testing by the accredited laboratory of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA).
According to the policy, screening by LFTs is intended to identify persons with SARSCoV-2 infection who have either no symptoms or mild symptoms and who might otherwise go undetected. Unless otherwise
guided by Public Health, the recommended age for persons to be screened with LFTs is two years and older.