Under the Public Health ‘Control of COVID-19 (Testing) Regulations, 2021’, Cayman’s approved testing methods expanded to include the use of Antigen-Detecting Rapid Diagnostics Tests, also known as Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs).
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While PCR testing remains the benchmark for diagnostic detection of COVID-19, LFTs can successfully assist in quickly identifying positive COVID-19 results within the community. The introduction of this National Policy allows for:
- Increased testing capacity within the Cayman Islands
- Confidence that places of work and recreation can continue to be safe environments, even with community transmission
- Enhancement of our ability to protect the community’s more vulnerable
- The continuation of close contacts of confirmed positives to operate normally within the community through regular LFT surveillance.
Where to Purchase
The government is continuously bringing in stocks of LFTs on a weekly basis. The following pharmacies and businesses stock them:
- Foster's Camana Bay
- Cost U Less
- Savannah Pharmacy
- Be Well Pharmacy
- Total Health
- Doctors Express
- Grand Harbour Pharmacy
- Valu-Med Pharmacy
Approved LFT Brands:
After undergoing confirmatory testing by the HSA, three LFT brands have been approved for use:
- ACON Biotech Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test
- Bioperfectus Technologies Novel Corona Virus Ag Rapid Test
- Hughes Veritas Rapid Antigen Test for SARS-CoV-2
Who Can be Screened?
Unless otherwise guided by Public Health, the recommended age for persons to be screened with LFTs is 2 years and older. Screening is NOT intended for persons who have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days as false positive may be produced. Contact the Public Health Department (Tel: (345) 949 8600) for advice on how to conduct future testing.
Use of LFTs have been approved by the Cayman Islands Government in the following contexts:
- At home testing, as part of a personal routine to safeguard individuals and their families
- As part of an outbreak investigation
- Routine testing for front line workers
- Organisations providing high touch and personal services to the public (i.e. barbershops, salons, spas, nightclubs, bars and restaurants, fitness facilities, cinema etc.)
The Health Services Authority (HSA) will now only provide COVID-19 testing for Public Health purposes and patients undergoing an operation. As of July 5th 2022, the HSA will only do PCR tests to confirm a positive LFT result. Voluntary Certified LFT and PCR tests for travel or employment purposes will no longer be provided.
Evaluating LFT Results:
Following a positive result from an LFT, the individual must follow Public Health protocols, which includes isolating immediately and contacting Public Health with the result. Public Health will advise when it is safe for the individual to be released from isolation.
Members of the same household who ARE vaccinated, and unvaccinated children under the age of 18, must conduct daily LFT testing for 10 days. If a negative LFT result is obtained, members can continue to attend school/work. Daily testing must continue until all positive cases in the household are cleared by Public Health.
Members of the same household who are over 18 and NOT vaccinated, must contact Public Health and isolate for a mandatory period of 14 days.
PLEASE NOTE: If an individual is contacted by Public Health and instructed to isolate, a negative LFT cannot be used to override the Public Health instruction in accordance with the Public Health Act (2021 Revision) and any relevant regulations.
Reporting Requirements for LFT Results:
In accordance with the Public Health Act (2021 Revision) the results of any positive test must be reported to Public Health as soon as someone is aware of a positive result. For reporting purposes, a web form has been developed which can be accessed here. Those who cannot access the web form should contact their local healthcare provider or the Flu Hotline (1-800-634 8600 / (345) 947 3077) to report the positive.
Lateral Flow Tests in the Workplace
To encourage the health and safety of the entire workplace, employers may choose to set up their own workplace testing regime. In this instance and per Public Health guidance, it is recommended that LTFs be administered twice weekly, regardless of whether persons are fully vaccinated, with each test taken within a minimum of three days of each other.
Formal workplace testing policy documents should provide employees with sufficient information on the policy expectations and ensure private, fair, and consistent testing protocols in compliance with the Data Protection Act (2021, Revision). Employers should engage with employees prior to formally introducing company testing mandates.
Additional prevention and control strategies that can be implemented in the workplace include:
- Promoting vaccination uptake
- Mask use in communal areas
- Encouraging physical distancing, handwashing, and respiratory etiquette
- Routine disinfectant
Lateral Flow Tests in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Centres and Schools
Given that many children are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, the Government has implemented a mitigation strategy with the aim to decrease the transmission of COVID-19 within ECCE Centres and Schools.
Evaluating the Results of LFTs:
A child who obtains a positive result from an LFT must isolate and report to the result to Public Health. Schools are required to organise remote learning in these instances.
Members of the same household who ARE vaccinated, and unvaccinated children under the age of 18, must conduct daily LFT testing for 10 days. If a negative LFT result is obtained, members can continue to attend school/work. Daily testing must continue until all positive cases in the household are cleared by Public Health. Members of the same household who are over 18 and NOT vaccinated, must contact Public Health, and isolate for a mandatory period of 14 days.
A surveillance period is in effect for classes once a classmate or teacher/staff member within that class tests positive. This surveillance period will continue until no positive results are received for 10 consecutive days. If another child/staff member tests positive within this period, the 10 days will reset and begin again.
If COVID-19 symptoms develop during this period, even if an individual produces a negative LFT, individuals are required to contact Public Health and immediately isolate.
Costs of LFTs for Staff and Children:
All test kits for Staff and Children in ECCE Centres and Schools (Public and Private) will be provided by the Government and are free of charge. The costs of any additional testing administered by parents at home will be covered by parents.