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Western Visayas’ testing backlog impedes fight vs COVID-19

/ 12:21 PM July 08, 2020

BACOLOD CITY –– Testing backlog has hampered the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Western Visayas.

The Department of Health (DOH) has not reported new COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City for the past three days pending the release of swab test results.

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Dr. Stephanie Abello, head of the Western Visayas Medical Center Sub-National Laboratory (WVMC-SNL) in Iloilo City, said they have been overwhelmed by swab specimens being sent to them for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing.

She hoped that more COVID-19 testing laboratories in Negros Occidental and Iloilo would be created to help the WVMC-SNL and the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital (TLJPH) laboratory in Silay City.

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As of Tuesday, the TLJPH laboratory had yet to test 2,000 specimens while 1,000 results still had to be released, said Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz.

The WVMC-SNL said it also deals with pending results.

“Due to the influx of a considerable number of specimens received, which is beyond the capacity of the testing center, the turn-around time for the processing and release of test results would be delayed. Rest assured that WVMC-SNL is doing its best to address the present predicament,” said WVMC-SNL in a statement posted on Facebook.

Abello said WVMC-SNL could conduct 500 to 800 tests a day but it had been receiving more than a thousand specimens daily.

Dr. Marlyn Concovar, DOH in Western Visayas director, on Tuesday said Western Visayas has a low-level community transmission of COVID-19 compared to other areas in the country such as Metro Manila and Cebu.

The region has had an average of 14 confirmed cases per day for the past 14 days, most of them returning overseas Filipino workers and locally stranded individuals.

Critical care utilization is still within the safe zone of 24.4 percent with a mortality rate of 2.8 percent, Concovar said.

She appealed to the public to follow the minimum public health standards such as wearing masks and observance of physical distancing to prevent the further spread of the virus.

LZB

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