Colombo, November 20 (Daily Mirror/ Jamila Husain) – The Government Medical Officers Association fears that there still may be undetected COVID-19 clusters within society and have urged authorities to step up PCR tests to a minimum 10,000 per day by the government sector alone, GMOA Member, Dr. Naveen De Soyza told Daily Mirror yesterday.
He said with the government and private sector both conducting PCR tests, a minimum of 15,000 PCR tests should be conducted daily across the country so that if there are any undetected clusters, they can be identified as soon as possible.
“The threat of undetected clusters is not only in Sri Lanka, but this threat remains all over the world. That is why we are randomly testing in hospitals and even in OPD units on patients who come in with influenza like symptoms or even with severe acute respiratory symptoms. This is how we caught the Brandix cluster,” Dr. De Soyza said. “But the more PCR tests are done, the better,” he added.
The GMOA further expressed concern at the delay in PCR test results as some results were released after 4 days, whereas it should be out within 24 hours. “This is our main concern and we raised this with the DG of Health. The DG then appointed a DDG to the laboratory service and we hope by next week at least this is sorted,” Dr. De Soyza said.
He explained that with a delay in PCR results, patients who tested negative were also sent to centres with positive patients but by the time the results came out they had already been exposed to the infection. “Therefore, we urge that PCR results must come in at the correct time,” he said.
Meanwhile, medical doctors along with the DG of Health Services are presently mapping down areas which have been identified as hotspots which will be completed by Nov.26. This will provide a clearer picture of the areas which should be isolated and the different health guidelines which should be adopted for these areas as well as the areas of low risk.