Provinces urged to send Covid-19 CIF to NCC to update data

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.

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