The Davao City government on Tuesday said it has temporarily limited the conduct of COVID-19 RT-PCR tests for close contacts or F1 and individuals with flu-like illnesses (ILI).
In a statement, COVID-19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser said that Davao City is currently experiencing a limited supply of detection kits.
The molecular laboratory extraction machine that runs swab specimens at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) is also under repair.
With this, the free RT-PCR swab testing for individuals who do not fall under F1 and ILI will not be accommodated from Monday, September 13, until further notice.
These include people tagged through the Safe DQR, surveillance and community swabbing for high-risk areas, and individuals who are getting an RT-PCR result for their health certificate.
“Ang atoang unahon is katong mga high risk individuals. Mao ni atoang close contacts or F1, katong naa jud direct contact sa known positive ug katong mga patients nga naga show og Covid-related symptoms. Typically naga positive gyud ni sila so unahon gyud nato sila,” Schlosser said.
(We will be prioritizing high-risk individuals. These are the close contacts or F1, those who are direct contacts of a known positive, and those patients showing Covid-related symptoms. Typically they turn out positive so we prioritize them.)
As the SPMC molecular laboratory is ongoing repair, specimens will be processed through the Los Amigos Molecular laboratory which can only run 450 specimens per day, as supposed to 1,500 specimens per day with the combined capacity of the two (2) molecular laboratories.
The public is also advised to expect a slight delay in the turnaround time of swab results.
In the meantime, Schlosser said that individuals may opt to go to a private COVID-19 laboratory at their own expense should they need an RT-PCR test result.
She assured residents that this will only be temporary and that the city is doing all it can to secure additional supplies.