In an interview over radio station DWNX last week, City Mayor Nelson Legacion hesitantly admitted that upon instructions of DOH- Bicol Regional Office, conduct of swab tests had to be slowed down owing to the fact that the Legaspi-based swab testing machine had been overwhelmed by the influx of swab samples numbering 800 more or less that still remained unacted upon.
The revelation means that swab specimen pending processing could no longer give competent results due to lapse of time. Meantime, the testing machine at the Bicol Medical Center remains almost inactive and as admitted by hospital authorities it is due to absence or lack of testing kits.
In response, one of the program anchors took pot-shots at the national government which seems not to know what the right hand is doing in relation to its left hand. The observation finds valid ground on account of the fact that while billions of pesos are being allotted to various supposedly anti- covid 19 expenditures and yet swab test machines are lacking and test kits are nowhere to be found.
It is no wonder then that doubts are being entertained on the DOH updates particularly in reference to Covid-19 positive cases, recoveries and deaths. Indeed, how could such figures be considered reliable, given the fact that swab testing machines have not over the past several days been functional.
Of late crisis-affected Nagueños are already in a quandary. In fact a barangay captain already took to the social media just to inquire on the status of contact tracing, given that several households remained locked down beyond the days supposed to be observed in order that the spread of the deadly virus may be contained.
Also noticeable is the absence of the regular updates by the DOH Bicol about co-vid 19 cases. What happened? This is being asked in the light of the revelation that swab testing is being suspended because about 800 more or less swab tests are still pending for processing, in addition to the practically inutile BMC testing machine which has no test kits.
Meantime the people are left with serious anxiety particularly on what is the real status of the anti-covid 19 campaign within the Bicol Region in general and in Naga City in particular.
Admittedly for all the worrisome scenarios being dangled upon us, there seems to be a silver lining. The corona virus while preventable for a lengthy span of time through inoculation is also curable. The efficacy of the vaccine to prevent the corona virus is still undergoing rigid trials. It will take months for it to be used for inoculation purposes.
But as pointed out by DOH undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire, Covid-19 is not a death sentence. That means the disease is curable. In fact some LGU’s have already placed orders for Remdisivir and Avigan. The Food and Drug Administration had already bared that virgin coconut oil has already passed the initial test as a medical supplement.
More significantly the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced that the first 3 clinical trials it conducted on the virgin coconut oil as supplement for the treatment of Covid-19 showed promising result with majority of the patients involved in the study sent home.
Also of interest is the revelation by DOST-Philippine Council for Health and Research and Development that clinical (PCHRD) trials for “Lagundi” as adjuvant therapy against Covid-19 have been approved. Lagundi tablet/syrup is a proven broncho dilator used for the treatment of cough, the agency said.
It does not mean though that those tasked to track down suspects of being positive shall work nonchalantly. The more they should be proactive in testing the samples. While the minimum protocols need to be observed, health authorities should act more expeditiously in effectively solving the difficulties hounding the drive for intensified swab testing and contact tracing.
More pointedly, the very poor performance of the Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory (BRDRL) has to be solved decisively. The Bicol Medical Center (BMC) testing machine should not remain inactive. All the excuses advanced are lame to say the least.