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Long lines at Gym for COVID tests

Carlos Atwell

Long lines at Gym for COVID tests
Long lines of people waiting to be tested for COVID-19 yesterday at the Wildey Gymnasium. (Picture by Lennox Devonish)

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Despite the long lines at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, the Ministry of Health is operating efficiently, said acting medical officer of health, Dr Walter Alleyne.

On Thursday, some of those waiting at the Gymnasium to be tested for COVID-19 complained of the wait times, turnaround times and having to wait in the sun. Others expressed annoyance over what appeared to be preferential treatment.

Alleyne said some people were indeed receiving preferential treatment but this was for a reason.

“Personnel from the Ministry of Health, the Royal Barbados Police Force and the Barbados Defence Force may have higher risk of exposure to the virus so we try to remove them from the general public and process them separately and more quickly.

“In addition, there are those where a cluster was found who will be fast tracked, such as personnel from the St Matthias court. I will admit those who stand on the periphery may misunderstand this procedure, but I assure the public it is not a case of friendship or getting through faster because of who you know,” he said.

As for the wait times, Alleyne said this was due to the number of people who were there and the fact many of them arrived hours before they opened. Even so, he said turnaround times were relatively swift.

“Yesterday (Wednesday) from 9:30 to noon we processed 500 people so all those who are out there now will be gone by the next hour or so. The rate of processing is fast despite the numbers and we are quite efficient at it. Unfortunately, we’ve noticed many times some people don’t think they are getting through as fast as they should,” he said.

Alleyne declined to comment on people having to wait in the sun or sometimes in the rain however, and when contacted, chief medical officer Dr Kenneth George, also declined to comment. (CA)