As cases of COVID-19 rise exponentially, pressures on the laboratories to test for COVID-19 are escalating and making it an urgent priority to have a rational approach to the use of scarce testing kits for SARS-CoV-2. Optimising the use of each test, so as to achieve the best outcomes in terms of identifying the greatest number of infected individuals to enhance contact tracing, and epidemic containment is thus critical.
The latest guidance from the College of Public Health Medicine Task Team provides recommendations for rationale use of testing so that managing the COVID-19 epidemic is viewed using a long-term approach. To this end immediate consideration should be given to enhancing laboratory capacity, resources and management to improve the turn-around time for laboratory results.
The guidance sets motivates for five key recommendations for strategic use of testing kits in the current resource-constrained settings.