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Director of Health Services: Consult quarantine authority before sending workers home

Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2020. 10:53 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: As Head of National Quarantine Authority, Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero raised concerns from workers in the Cayo and Corozal Districts in particular whose employers have failed to properly notify the NQA before sending home workers suspected of having contact with COVID-19 patients, or demanding that they be tested before returning to work.

On Wednesday’s appearance on Ask The Experts, Dr. Manzanero said, “We have people from [the] private sector, and from some public offices – banks, teachers have decided to put their staff on quarantine because they are either a secondary or casual contact of a known case and so they have decided to send these people home. If any employer decides to send people home without informing the quarantine authority, then you cannot anticipate that two, three weeks later, you will come back and ask us to sign the sick leave form for those you have decided to send home.”

Concerning the test requirement, Dr. Manzanero said there is a specific policy and procedure for requiring such tests; because of the limited nature of testing, simply showing up does not guarantee you will be tested.

Similarly, private sector clinics can perform COVID-19 PCR tests, but all tests are reviewed at the Central Medical Laboratory and there is no fee charged; the turnaround time remains the same.

A PCR test is not required to show up to work and quarantine rules do apply – tests are typically done 2 weeks after quarantine starts.

Rapid tests are not yet approved for use in the general population and PCR remains the gold standard of testing worldwide.


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