Chatto: PUI swab samples from Bohol to be tested in Cebu

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Chatto: PUI swab samples from Bohol to be tested in Cebu

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COVID-19 test kits developed by UP scientists are presented during a press briefing held at the Genome Center in UP Diliman in Quezon City on March 12, 2020. | AFP Photo/Maria Tan

Swab samples taken from persons under investigation (PUI) for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection in Bohol will no longer have to be taken all the way to Metro Manila for testing.

According to First District Rep. Edgar Chatto, Bohol health authorities may start sending samples to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VCMMC) in Cebu City after it acquired 100 test kits on Wednesday.

“Naay 100 test kits na niabot sa Vicente Sotto gikan na sa Manila RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine), posible na na gibahinan ta og gamay,” said Chatto.

The solon has been coordinating with the RITM and Sec. Michael Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas to expedite the delivery of test kits or reagents to Cebu City for the benefit of Bohol and the rest of the region.

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However, Chatto noted that only a few samples from Bohol will initially be tested at the VSMMC given the limited number of kits.

“Sa karon, mo andar ang Vicente pero kana pang initial na 100 pero maayo nalang,” he said. “Mura’g gigahanin ra ta nila gamay ana kay gahuwat pa sila sa supply.”

Chatto is still expecting the delivery of test kits from Korea and those developed by local scientists at the University of the Philippines (UP) to ramp up the testing of PUIs in the region.

Results from the UP and Korean kits however will not be official and will still be subjected to retesting.

Still, Chatto believes that these will be enough to improve patient management and quarantine.

“Dili final ang result kay di man jud sila duly approved sa DOH ug RITM so magamit gihapon para mo guide…magamit nila for proper management of the patient bisan og dili final pero at least nahibawo sila og kinsa ang potential na positive ug potential na negative,” he said.

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Previously, local health authorities had to transport samples to the RITM in Marikina City by plane but this was stopped on Monday after both Metro Manila and Bohol were placed under community quarantine.

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Some three samples which were collected this week had to be flown via chopper to Cebu then transferred to a Manila-bound C130 military cargo plane before it could reach the RITM.

Doctor Yul Lopez of the Provincial Health Office earlier admitted that it was no longer ideal to solely rely on the RITM for testing as the facility is swamped with testing samples from across the country amid the growing COVID-19 threat. (A. Doydora)

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