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Tourism official & tourists frustrated with delayed covid-19 test results in BVI. Says "Too many excuses!"

Tourism official & tourists frustrated with delayed covid-19 test results in BVI. Says "Too many excuses!"

“Why is it that we are waiting normally in excess of 36 hours to get test results. Folks in quarantine now are still waiting, still hoping, dinner reservations lost, boat trips lost, vehicle rentals lost, taxis lost.
If we can’t turn around in the 24-36 hours stated – then the hospitable thing to do is to tell our guests so. Those of us in hospitality try our best to keep them happy – it’s a tough call – but this is our livelihood – the little that’s left. This is no way to treat returning residents and guests! We got to do better! Too many excuses!”

These were the words of former Director of the BVI Tourist Board and now Director of operations at Virgin Gorda Villas, Sharon Flax-Brutus via a recent Facebook post.

As Mrs. Flax-Brutus indicated, many tourists and residents are stuck in this predicament of delayed test results. These persons were initially told that they would receive covid-19 results within 24 hours of the Day-4 test being administered. However, many travelers remain stuck in quarantine due to delays, with little to no time to indulge in the BVI.

Health Officials have since responded saying the “Go Live” of the BVI Health Services Authority’s new health information system is responsible for delays in persons receiving their COVID-19 test results.

Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Cedorene Malone-Smith said that persons can now expect their results in 36-48 hours instead of 24-36 hours.

According to the CEO, the Authority is currently in the process of transitioning from a dated Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system to a new and improved one. “This necessary upgrade will make us more efficient in the administration of our day-to-day functioning. The upgrade will also improve our service delivery to the BVI community,” Mrs. Smith said.

She further stated that the system upgrade will also assist in reducing delays and maintaining a high level of quality care at public healthcare facilities. “We want to thank our hard-working staff for implementing our downtime backup procedures as we work to resolve this matter. Patient safety is and remains our top priority.”

However, the public backlash continues.

One resident said “Contingencies should of been made during the “go live” period. The government does not understand the ramifications of these delays on our visitors. Not everyone who comes here for their 7-10 day vacation expects to spend almost the whole time under quarantine due to the poor planning on our part.”

The British Virgin Islands officially reopened its tourism doors on December 1st, 2020 marking the first time international visitors could set foot in the territory since closure in March, 2020.

Since then travelers have been able to access the territory through the Terrence B. International Airport which has a current testing capacity of 100 daily.

According to recent announcements, the BVI Ports Authority is set to reopen to international Ferry travelers on April 15. This will be at an initial capacity of 50 travelers, bringing total testing to an average of 150 daily.

These numbers are expected to increase significantly as the territory prepares to welcome fully vaccinated cruise ship tourists, come June, 2021.
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