The Negros Occidental provincial government is fast-tracking the release of results of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) tests conducted by the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital Molecular Laboratory following complaints from local government units (LGUs) affected by the delays.
In a meeting with the local chief executives on Monday, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the negative test results will now be released within a maximum of four days after the swab samples are collected.
“We have found a solution. It can even go as fast as two days,” he added.
The mayors have raised concerns that the delayed release of test results have also led to the delay in the release of residents from the quarantine facilities, thereby putting stress on their resources.
Some Negrenses had to wait for 14 to 20 days or even more for the release of results.
Meanwhile, figures released by the provincial government showed that locally-stranded individuals (LSIs) comprised the majority of the Covid-19 cases in Negros Occidental.
As of July 19, the tally showed that out of the 268 cases, 192 or 71.6 percent were all LSIs coming from various parts of the country, where they were stranded due to travel restrictions following the declaration of enhanced community quarantine.
The highest cases at 93 were those who traveled to Cebu and 75 came from Manila. The rest were from Antique, Bohol, Bulacan, Camarines Sur, Capiz, Cavite, Davao, Dumaguete, Guimaras, Iloilo, Laguna, Palawan, Pampanga, Rizal and Zamboanga.
Aside from the 192 LSIs, the other cases included 39 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs); 20 domestic; 10 front-liners, authorized persons outside residence (APOR); two imported (domestic); one imported case (foreign); and one in another province but tagged in Negros Occidental.
The domestic cases were those who tested positive recently while staying only in the province while the imported domestic cases were those who traveled even before the community quarantine was enforced and were found positive after returning to the province.
Figures further showed that of the 268 cases, 169 were males and 99 were females.
A total of 145 cases were still active while 123 already recovered. Some 34 were symptomatic while 234 were asymptomatic.
In a report on Monday, Zeaphard Caelian, chief of Provincial Disaster Management Program Division (PDMPD), said that from March 30 to July 19, a total of 8,793 Negrenses returned home, including 6,644 LSIs and 2,149 OFWs.
He added that following the two-week moratorium on the return of stranded Negrenses, there has been a spike in the number of arrivals on July 17.
On that day, 761 LSIs came home to Negros Occidental aboard 2GO Group’s St. Therese of the Child Jesus and 16 were flown in via an AirAsia flight.
On July 18, some 72 Negrenses arrived aboard a Cebu Pacific flight while on July 19, a total of 235 more returned home aboard 2GO Group’s St. Leo the Great and St. Therese vessels.
A total of 1,084 Negrenses arrived in only three days, Caelian said.
He added that upon arrival at the Bredco port, the LSIs undergo a swab sampling before they are endorsed to their respective local government units (LGUs).
“Those who are not yet fetched by their LGUs are transported to the quarantine area in Silay City,” he said. (PNA)