BUTUAN CITY, March 26 (PIA) -- As announced by Dr. Jose Llacuna, Jr., Regional Director of the Department of Health (DOH)-Caraga, during his briefing on Thursday, the nine swab samples sent to the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City were tested negative of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Dr. Llacuna bared that six patients were confined at the Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City while three were at the Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center in Surigao del Sur.
"We're happy to announce that none of them tested positive of COVID-19," he said.
Latest data showed a total of 36 patients under investigation (PUIs), 12 are currently admitted while 24 are on strict home quarantine. Three PUIs have already been discharged following negative results and good medical condition.
To date, Caraga region does not have a specialized molecular biology laboratory capable of performing biohazard tests like the COVID-19. Confirmatory testing for COVID-19 includes certain requirements like Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) based testing kits, Biosafety Level 2 (BSL 2) Cabinets, trained Medical Technologists on biohazard safety and the Biohazard Safety Laboratory itself which will cost millions in purchase and more time for proper training before operation. With this, all nose-throat swab collected samples of qualified Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) are brought to SPMC as it is the only qualified sub-national confirmatory testing laboratory in Mindanao, Dr. Lllacuna said.
"We collect samples from qualified individuals and bring them to SPMC in Davao City because we still don't have the capacity to perform them here in the region. In the meantime, while we are still awaiting for the other results, I urge all Caraganons to continue cooperating with us, the LGUs, and the uniformed personnel by simply staying at home and practicing health preventive measures," Dr. Llacuna added.
Based on the Department Memorandum No. 2020-0108, or the "Guidelines for Management of Patients with Possible and Confirmed COVID-19," it stated that admitted patients with severe manifestations, elderlies, and PUIs with co-morbidities are the criteria for specimen collection and COVID-19 testing.
Meanwhile, Dr. Llacuna urged everyone in the region to continuously cooperate with the government in its effort to avert the spread of the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) disease. He further enjoined all Caraganons to follow precautionary measures for the region to remain as COVID-19-Free.
"We are all in this together. May it be big or small; we can contribute in halting the spread of this disease. I encourage everyone to continue to wash your hands, practice cough etiquette and physical distancing," the health chief concluded. (JPG/DOH-13/PIA-Caraga)