Recently the Department of Public Health (DVG) and the Inspectorate of Public Health reached a consensus regarding the requirements the self-test must comply with for its use in Aruba. After outlining the criteria, now the process continues with the import of these tests by the pharmacies (through IVA). The DVG foresees that in mid-October 2021, these tests will be on the market in Aruba.
The factors that played a role in the decision to introduce the self-tests are:
- Recent studies indicate that some of these tests show an acceptable sensitivity grade and specificity in different groups (sub-population);
- We are entering a different phase of the pandemic. Bit by bit, we have to minimalize interference in our daily lives and society, including physical education and the commercial sector. The self-test is a tool that can help to bring some perspective in this matter;
- The introduction of the self-test will not affect the primary strategy of the DVG to test suspicious cases. It is an addition and not a substitute of the current policy of the DVG;
- Currently, persons without symptoms (that will not be traveling), can not easily get a COVID test. To make the test more accessible, soon persons without symptoms that want to take a COVID test can pay to take the test at an accredited lab or buy a self-test at a pharmacy in Aruba;
- At this moment, Aruba can confirm/verify the positive results of self-tests through a PCR test.
- The government notices a demand for self-tests primarily by the private, hotel, and commercial sectors.
The community needs to be aware that the result of a self-test is not an official diagnosis.
For example, if the person’s self-test is positive, the person must take a PCR test at an accredited lab to verify the result. Without the PCR test, the DVG will not contact the person for contact tracing, and SVb will not cover the isolation expenses. If the self-test result is negative, one must always consider that it can be a false negative since the person took the test too early or did not adequately take the test.
The introduction of the self-test is the framework of screening, where citizens can test themselves and stop the spread of the COVID-19. The goal of the self-test is to detect more COVID-19 infections among citizens with light or without symptoms and for who a PCR-test is limited. If you have symptoms, please visit the web page https://covid19test.healthapp.aw and ask for a code to make an appointment for a COVID-19 test or contact your home physician to take a PCT test at an accredited lab.
In closing, it is essential to mention that the introduction of the self-test is not without risks. However, combined with the correct information and responsibility of our citizens, it can help to give an overview of the COVID-19 cases among our population. The self-tests also contribute to a reduction in COVID-19 cases, if the persons testing positive with a self-test follow the required process.