Public COVID-19 testing sites not adhering to public health measures

A section of the crowd at the centre

Testing for the coronavirus comes with its own challenges as one person found out on Monday morning. All protocols are thrown to the waste side at these testing centres as there is no social distancing and no adherence to the very basic of procedures.

Peter Adams (not his real name) told us that he turned up to the East La Penitence Health Centre to be tested after experiencing symptoms, “things seemed amiss as soon as I walked through the gate as two young women exited the health centre. Both were maskless,” Adams recounted, “I was thrown but even more baffled when I realised one of the two guards who assisted me in finding the location of the testing site was also maskless,” the man said.

Even as he was in the compound, Adams said that he was not instructed to wash his hands, “a far cry from the almost chronic requests for hand washing I have experienced at local supermarkets and stores,” the man pointed out.

There are two adjacent tents at the back of the compound the man told us, “On the right was a tent with two benches, twelve persons were seated within touching distance of each other, of the twelve, a third had their masks under their chin or below their nose,” Adams recounted.

From that tent, there was a line of those awaiting testing the man said “undulating like an ambivalent snake with some twenty persons standing in this line, some strangers, the uniforms on others suggested co-workers, the mood was convivial, many with their masks under their chin as they engaged in conversation, Adams told us.

He said that little clusters of people formed amidst that line with   a cluster of about eight people making it so congested he could not see the health workers, “as I stood up behind the last person in the line, giving them a wide berth of a seven feet distance, I wondered at the irony of the COVID testing site being a place of no social distancing, ambivalent masking practiced and a hotbed of what seemed like potential openings for the viruses,” the man asked.

According to the World Health Organisation, the virus can spread from one infected person through coughing, sneezing, speaking, singing or breathing heavily. Several public health measures are in place restricting the gathering and encouraging social distance but it seems none of this is enforced.