Covid-19 testing an issue in US

  • Travel concerns: Ginny and Terrance Masters (Photograph supplied)

    Travel concerns: Ginny and Terrance Masters (Photograph supplied)

A woman in United States for surgery after she was flown out by air ambulance has revealed the problems faced by residents trying to get screened for the coronavirus before they returned to the island.

Ginny Masters said it was almost impossible to book a pre-departure test that would yield results inside 72 hours of her husband Terrance’s flight yesterday.

She said: “We get it, we would love to say, yeah, Bermuda, be like the EU, don’t let any planes come in from the States ...

“But we’re sitting with people, looking at things a little bit from a different perspective.

“First of all, we are Bermudians, we’ve got to come back home.

“The other thing is, I see all the comments where people are saying ‘why are these people getting on a plane and they weren’t tested 72 hours before they got on a plane?’ — Bermuda is in a wonderfully unique position in that if you want a Covid test, it’s an easy thing to do.”

Mrs Masters added: “That is not the case in the US, that is not the case in states where they are having a problem and you cannot just arbitrarily up and decide, I’m going to have a Covid test.”

She was speaking after David Burt, the Premier, signalled last week that the rule that returning Bermudians, unlike visitors, do not require a pre-travel test might have to be changed if the coronavirus crisis worsened in the US.

He said: “We cannot legally deny residents entry into their own country.

“However, if the situation in the United States continues on its current trajectory, we may need to change rules to require residents who are travelling to the United States to require pre-departure tests before their return.”

However, Mrs Masters added: “I just don’t know how that can happen. The United States, they don’t have enough Covid tests for their people.”

The 60-year-old was flown to Massachusetts by air ambulance on June 3 — two days after she went on furlough from her job as an events and office administrator with the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts.

She said: “I am so appreciative that the Bermuda Festival has maintained my medical insurance.”

Her husband joined her, but was unable to accompany her into the Lahey Hospital because of Covid-19 restrictions, so he was put up in a nearby hotel.

Mrs Masters had surgery the next day, another operation inside 24 hours and was discharged the next week.

She joined her husband at the hotel because Bermuda’s airport remained closed to scheduled flights until July, but said her experience there was “not as we knew it”.

Mrs Masters added that guests had to take sheets and towels to the front desk to exchange them for fresh ones, there were no room-cleaning staff and no restaurants open.

She said she was told that several other stranded Bermudians were also at the hotel.

Mrs Masters was given permission by her doctors to travel to Georgia, where her parents, brother and daughter, Dana Brown, all live.

The couple, from St David’s, quarantined themselves in a separate part of her parents’ home to protect her elderly parents.

Mrs Masters said: “We’re not going any place and when we do go out, when it’s sort of a necessity, I will tell you that we are continuously shocked at the number of people that are not wearing masks, that are not socially distancing and we completely understand why Georgia and some of these states are having the problems that they’re having.”

Although she will remain in the US for another operation — scheduled for August 17 — Mr Masters had to get back to his job at BTC and arrived back on the island on a flight from Atlanta yesterday afternoon.

Mrs Masters said: “I have tried for days, trying to get an appointment or find a way for my husband to have a Covid test.

“One, I’ve got to try and time it within the 72 hours where he can have the test and he can get the results — that’s almost impossible to do because a lot of these places tell you five to seven days.”

Mrs Masters said that other test centres were booked solid and a major pharmacy chain would not test people unless they were healthcare workers or had symptoms of Covid-19.

Mrs Masters said the couple’s experience highlighted the problems faced by people who wanted to take precautions, but also needed to return home.

The government website said that visitors must have a clear PCR coronavirus test “ideally within 72 hours of departure, but no more than five days”, but that residents did not have to get a preflight test.

People returning home without a pre-departure test can take a test at the airport and are quarantined until they take another test on Day 3.

If both are negative and they are not told otherwise by public health officials — for example, if they were a close contact of a known case — they will no longer need to be quarantined.

But the Ministry of Health explained last week that all arriving passengers must monitor their health and limit their exposure to others people as much as possible for 14 days.

Mr Masters will quarantine for a minimum of three days to take his two tests and was not expected to return to work until at least July 20.

You must be registered or signed-in to post comment or to vote.

Published Jul 13, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 13, 2020 at 6:27 am)

Covid-19 testing an issue in US

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon

  • Take Our Poll

    Today's Obituaries

    eMoo Posts