The Davao City government is temporarily limiting Covid-19 RT-PCR swab testing to close contacts or F1 and the individuals with influenza-like illnesses (ILI) only due to the limited supply of detection kits and the needed repair of the molecular laboratory extraction machine to run swab specimens at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).

Given 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 thru the Safe DQR, surveillance and community swabbing for high-risk areas, and individuals who are getting an RT-PCR result for their health certificate.

Speaking over the Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) on Monday, Covid-19 Task Force Spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser reported that Davao City is currently experiencing a limited supply of detection kits and the suspension of the SPMC molecular laboratory for a needed repair of its Covid-19 automated extraction machine used to run swab specimens.

 “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 (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),” Schlosser said.

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 due to the repair of the SPMC extraction machine.

In the meantime, Schlosser said that individuals may opt to go to a private Covid-19 center or laboratory should they need an RT-PCR test result at their own expense. She assured Dabawenyos that this will only be temporary and that the city will be back on track with regular swabbing activities.

“Limited atoang supply as of the moment pero ginapangitaan na og paraan sa local government para madagdagan pa atoang supply sa detection kits para sa RT-PCR (We have limited supply as of the moment but the local government is doing all means to supply additional detection kits for RT-PC).”

With this situation, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte in an interview over the DCDR on Monday said the city’s health group had an internal agreement to give leeway to those who are F2 and F3 due to the unforeseen circumstances.

“Dili ta magpagawas og executive order (to suspend EO 20-A, mandatory swabtest for F1, F2, F3) pero duna lang tay internal agreement with the health group with regard to maghatag ug leeway because dili sala sa mga tao nga nadaot ang machine dinha sa SPMC. But kung ang tao ma-contact trace siya and masultihan siya nga kinahanglan siya magpatest pwede gihapon siya magpatest on his own sa private laboratories (We will not issue an executive order (to suspend EO 20-A, mandatory swabtest for F1, F2, F3) but we only have an internal agreement with the health group with regard to giving a leeway because it was not the peoples’ fault that the machine at SPMC needs repair. But if a person will be traced, if they will be told to have themselves tested, they can still opt to be tested on their own through private laboratories),” she said. CIO