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Davao City, Philippines

Release of COVID-19 test results in GenSan faces delay

August 06, 2020 - Thursday 4:08 PM by PNA

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The release of confirmatory test results for suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients has been facing delay due to the limited capacity of testing centers here and other parts of Region 12 (Soccsksargen).

Dr. Rochelle Oco, head of the City Health Office, said Thursday they opted to send anew swab specimens to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) laboratory in Davao City in the wake of the declining supply of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test cartridges.

She said the 420 cartridges earlier delivered by the Department of Health (DOH) for the city and Sarangani province were already used up so far.

Swab samples from the two areas were previously processed at the St. Elizabeth Hospital here based on the zoning of tests implemented by DOH-Region 12.

“We already utilized the 70 percent allotted for our (suspected patients) since the 30 percent was for health workers,” she told reporters.

Oco, who heads the City Inter-Agency Task Force (CIATF) for the Management of Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases, said they already requested for additional cartridges from the DOH the delivery was expected to take some time.

She said they were told that the testing capacity of the Cotabato Regional Medical Center in Cotabato City and the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center in Koronadal City have been limited due to the same problem.

“So that leaves us with SPMC in Davao. But we know that it is in Region 11 so it means we have to line up based on their prioritization (criteria),” she said.

PCR test results previously processed at SPMC had taken three days to over a week before being released.

The official appealed for understanding from residents, especially the families of Covid-19 patients, regarding the delay in the release of PCR confirmatory and repeat test results.

She said they were also frustrated with the situation and want to hasten the discharge of the recovered patients.

“But then please understand that we can’t release our patients until they come out negative in the swab tests. This is to protect their families. Let’s wait until everything is available,” she said.

On Wednesday night, DOH-12 confirmed five new Covid-19 cases in the city, bringing the area’s total infections to 40 and with seven recoveries.

The latest patients, all in stable condition, were returning residents with travel history from Metro Manila. Allen Estabillo