The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing in Cagayan de Oro City (CDO) will commence on May 21, prioritizing Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) and Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs), as well as health care workers, Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) confirmed Monday.
NMMC received 1,140 cartridges last Sunday, May 17, from the Department of Health (DOH) central office.
“Thanks to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and the Air Force they delivered the cartridges even during a storm. Today (May 18) we will have a walkthrough and review of protocols and tomorrow we will have an online supervised demonstration and orientation (of the processing of samples) so that by Wednesday or Thursday this week at the latest, we will start the testing,” NMMC spokesman Dr. Bernard Rocha said during Monday morning’s press briefing.
However, Dr. Rocha recommended not to overusing the Xpert Xpress machine in processing the swab samples of suspected COVID-19 patients.
The targeted goal of 400 to 500 tests a day set by the DOH-10 regional office may not be feasible, at least until the full operation of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines, which the local government of CDO donated.
“Once there are five RT-PCR machines, each can process 90 test results per hour daily,” Dr. Rocha said.
CDO City Hall lent two RT-PCR machines to DOH-10 to complement their Xpert Xpress machine and ordered a third RT-PCR machine for NMMC.
On mass testing
Mayor Oscar Moreno also said mass testing won’t be possible in the next few months until the NMMC, the DOH-10, and Polymedic Medical Plaza each operate the RT-PCR machines at full capacity.
“There will be selected or targeted testing for certain communities and barangays,” Moreno said.
Dr. Teodulfo Joselito Retuya, a resident epidemiologist of the City Health Office, further confirmed that aside from PUIs and PUMs, they will also prioritize for testing the persons afflicted with acute respiratory illness (ARI) and influenza-like illness (ILI).
“Under the DOH guidance, we will conduct targeted testing. Patients and health care workers will be prioritized. Those with comorbidities and pregnant women will also be prioritized. They will first undergo rapid diagnostic testing to be followed by the RT-PCR testing,” Dr. Retuya said.
—(Source: CDO City Information Office)