Palawan continues to struggle with its contact tracing efforts, as a shortage of testing cartridges needed for its RT-PCR confirmatory testing on COVID-19 cases has immobilized its crucial testing facility housed at the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP).
The Department of Health Regional Office –Health Emergency Management (DOH Regional-HEM) said Wednesday that the purchase order for cartridges had been placed as early as January, but was delayed due to a global shortage of supplies.
“As per HEMS, shortage talaga sa manufacturer pa lang kaya medyo natagalan ng delivery for Philippines. Ngayon, ‘yong distributor nakafocus na lang sila sa DOH na maibigay ‘yong supplies, to supply the need,” DOH told Palawan News on Wednesday.
The Ospital Ng Palawan’s GeneXpert COVID-19 laboratory is left with only nine testing cartridges as of Tuesday, and these had been reserved for COVID-19 patients exhibiting moderate to severe symptoms.
In Busuanga, two additional cases have been added to the growing list of 12 active cases in Calamian town.
At least 45 individuals were RT-PCR tested since Tuesday, all of whom were indexed from three separate “local cases”.
Contact tracing efforts in Calamian towns remained tight with 143 testing cartridges left at the Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital.
The “good news”, added health officials, is that their anticipated reinforcement of supplies are expected to arrive “anytime soon”. However, the estimated date of arrival was still yet to be determined.
“The good news is anytime soon padating na ‘yong supplies,” the DOH told Palawan News on Wednesday.
In Puerto Princesa, “at least 200” individuals have been placed under quarantine as the local health officials tightened its contact tracing efforts.
The City Incident Management Team (IMT) however admitted that they were only relying on antigen test, instead of the “gold standard” RT-PCR testing, as the growing number of suspect cases were being flagged due to lack of testing capability.