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Costly delay in Red Cross RT-PCR test results

"PRC must let the public know of the backlog it is experiencing."

 

 

We may have religiously observed all the health and safety standards but coronavirus is so widespread and contagious we just do not know where and when we might get infected by it.

Such is the case of one of my staff members at the Erwin Tulfo Center for Media and Public Service with offices on Timog Ave., Quezon City. She tested positive for Covid-19.

So, everyone known to have been in contact with her had to be tested, as well and quarantined as needed. 

At least a dozen of my staff members were scheduled and underwent RT-PCR saliva testing last Friday at the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) saliva collection site in Mandaluyong Center for a fee of P2,000 each. 

Included in the service is the release of the test result within 24 hours. However, not all results came back in one day. Most arrived 48 hours later via email. 

What’s worse is that two of those tested who tried to look up their results online instead got the message  “information not available”.   

Unfortunately, they missed their scheduled out-of-town media coverage which required RT-PCR results not older than 72 hours.

There is not even a PRC Hotline available where they could inquire about this problem and ask pertinent questions.  Does that mean they have to reschedule and get tested again?  Do they each have to pay the P2,000 fee again? 

We are respectfully calling the attention of Senator Richard Gordon, PRC chair, regarding this problem, please.

It is unfortunate that we experienced this ourselves, proving the perennial complaints we receive about PRC’s delayed release of RT-PCR results.

We understand a massive number of people troop to the various PRC locations to get tested.

We do not wish for or demand any kind of VIP treatment in any way. We just wish that the PRC would be responsible enough to keep their clients informed about the test results for which they paid for.  

PRC must let the public know of the backlog it is experiencing and give clients an update on the status of their test results.

Unfortunately, my staff who missed their flights have to go through the trouble of rebooking and, in all likelihood, retake the RT-PCR test for fresh results.

Similarly, many outbound overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) reportedly miss scheduled flights due to delayed RT-PCR test results from the PRC. This clearly costs more money and wastes time.

This has been the problem since last year when returning Filipinos, both OFWs and non-OFWs, were required to undergo the mandatory RT-PCR tests at NAIA and stay in hotels that serve as “quarantine facility” until they receive the swab test results from the PRC.

There was a time when it took several weeks until the PRC released the test results of OFWs.  OWWA paid for their cost of hotel accommodations, anyway, while PhilHealth paid for the swab tests.

Returning non-OFWs, including Filipino tourists and undocumented workers from abroad, were greatly aggravated as they had to stay over an extended period, waiting for the delayed PRC results.

The release of swab test results became quicker when private laboratory entities took over the RT-PCR testing of non-OFWs at the airport.  

COVID-19 cases swelled despite the inaccessibility of RT-PCR testing -- until it became the multi-billion pesos business that it is now. 

Millions of Filipinos displaced by the lockdowns still cannot afford to get RT-PCR tests for COVID-19. 

And to wait for the government’s free mass testing at this point would be a miracle.

Topics: coronavirus disease , RT-PCR saliva testing , Philippine Red Cross
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