Saturday 3 April 2021
Provinces using GeneXpert machines for Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing, are being urged to forward all case investigation forms (CIF) to the National Control Centre (NCC), at their earliest convenience, to update current data.
Deputy Incident Manager of the National Control Centre, Dr Melinda Susapu, stressed this during the daily Covid-19 press briefing at Morauta Haus this afternoon, adding, there could be more cases than what is currently being reported because provinces that are using GeneXpert machines for testing , were not sending the case investigation forms on time, to update these figures.
“All provinces have the capacity to test using GeneXpert machines,” she adds.
However, there have been no reported positive cases for Oro and Manus provinces, although all provinces have been sending in samples to be tested using RT-PCR (Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction).
Meanwhile, Dr Susapu says PNG’s total number of tests stands at 67,741 since the start of the outbreak, and from that figure, there are 6,619 cumulative Covid-19cases.
“We still have pending laboratory results for 3 689 samples. Those were sent to PNGIMR (Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research – Goroka and Port Moresby), Singapore, and Brisbane .
“We are awaiting results from those 3,000 plus samples as well.”
Dr Susapu added that , Papua New Guinea does not have enough capacity in country to test, using PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), and for this reason, samples are being sent to Singapore and Brisbane to do the tests and provide the results on time.
“The turnaround time for both Singapore and Brisbane is really good for us – it’s within 48 hours when we get the results back, We then share the results with those affected.
“But at this time also, I’d like to urge the provinces, once they get their samples, they need to send to CPHL (Central Public Health Laboratory) in Port Moresby, where CPHL is responsible for sending out the samples to either Brisbane , Singapore , as well as PNGIMR, Goroka and PNG IMR in Port Moresby.
“The sooner we get the samples , the sooner we can send out the samples and get the results back to the provinces and to our people on time” Dr Susapu added.
In the meantime, the Rita Flynn facility continues to swab and collect samples from those who are symptomatic, and get tested using the GeneXpert machine also at the facility, however samples are also being sent to CPHL, either to be sent overseas or to PNGIMR to get the results back on time and to advise our people accordingly.
Dr Susapu added that of the total confirmed cases in the country, 64 percent are males and 36 percent females.
On the vaccination rollout update, there were 250 persons being vaccinated so far and will continue on Tuesday 6 April after the Easter break.
Priority will be given to Port Moresby General Hospital with over 1,000 health care workers, as well as other clinics around the city to be vaccinated next week.
Dr Susapu however said, whatever is left from the 8000 vaccines donated by the Australian government, would be shared with other provinces to vaccinate their respective frontline health care workers.