Sun | Oct 17, 2021

Test sample lost, Alorica COVID-19 patient told

Published:Monday | May 4, 2020 | 12:19 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer

A patient who has been housed at a Manchester isolation centre since April 10 and who harboured hopes of finally being released has been gutted by the news that health authorities have reportedly lost his second exit sample.

The 19-year-old, who was the second Alorica employee to have tested positive for the new coronavirus, said he is distressed at having had to spend nearly four weeks at the isolation centre.

The Gleaner has not named the facility because it is illegal to do so under the Disaster Risk Management Act. The patient’s identity has also been withheld because of stigma and discrimination concerns.

Coronavirus patients must receive two negative results from confirmatory tests before being authorised to leave state facilities.

The Alorica call centre in Portmore has emerged as the epicentre of the spread of the virus, with 216 cases under investigation linked to the business process outsourcing firm. The explosion of cases at Alorica triggered a 16-day lockdown of St Catherine parish, which expired last Friday. Jamaica has 469 infections.

The 19-year-old said that doctors swabbed him again yesterday.

When he asked why he was being subjected to a third round of exclusionary tests, he said that he was told that his results had been misplaced.

“Just a awhile ago, one of the nurses called me and say one of my results come back negative and one positive,” he said.

Public relations officer for the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Stephen Davidson, said that while he was not aware of that particular case, the outstanding backlog in test results had been cleared and the patient should be getting his soon.

“That’s how it is, you know. He’ll have to wait until he gets two negatives,” Davidson told The Gleaner yesterday.


However, the patient who said he has not seen his parents or any relatives since he was isolated, said that the lack of communication by medical staff on his status has been most galling. This has left him frustrated, especially since he is reportedly no longer exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

“Nobody don’t visit me because them don’t even know where [the centre] is. Every other patient gets visitors who carry things fi them. A just recently my family come off a quarantine and ... it is really upsetting and very frustrating,” he told The Gleaner.

“Me nuh understand why everybody else result come early, and some people result a come inna two days, and mine a take two weeks, three weeks fi come. Wah go so?” he asked.

The Clarendon resident told The Gleaner that his situation is more disconcerting because he was confirmed with COVID-19 long before his colleagues from Alorica, who have since been taken into quarantine and are looking forward to going home.

“It really a test me faith,” he admitted, disclosing that he has business plans that will have to be shelved.

The Alorica teen’s travails have been one of several narratives of concern about the backlog of test data from the field and the bureaucracy that has hamstrung patient discharge. Up to late last week, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton revealed that there was a backlog of around 400 cases.

The commisssioning of a COBAS 6800 machine was expected to quickly clear that logjam as it has a capacity to process nearly 400 tests every eight hours.