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NegOr IATF legal probes ‘fake’ RT-PCR results

Executive director Adrian Sedillo of the Negros Oriental Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases*

The Negros Oriental Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) passed a resolution asking its legal team to investigate the alleged fake results of swab tests presented by a group of workers seeking employment in Bohol.

IATF-EID executive director Adrian Sedillo said Assistant Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Liland Estacion, informed the body during their regular meeting Tuesday of the incident involving some 20 construction workers.

Sedillo said it is now up to the legal team to determine the possible appropriate action to be taken against these people and to also check on the possible liability of their supposed employer.

The faking of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) results is detrimental to the province and will put the name of the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital Molecular Laboratory in a bad light, he said.

“It placed the name and the integrity of the molecular laboratory and the provincial government in question,” he added.

The incident was discovered late last week after Bohol verified with Negros Oriental the authenticity of the RT-PCR results, a pre-requisite before entering that neighboring province, Sedillo said.

These people are still in the province, as they were not allowed to depart for Bohol following the discovery, he added.

TEST KITS FOR COPS

The Negros Oriental IATF-EID also passed a resolution suggesting to the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office the procurement of RT-PCR test kits for its personnel.

This developed following a request from provincial police director, Col. Bryant Demot, to the IATF, chaired by Gov. Roel Degamo, for free RT-PCR swab testing for police personnel in the province in line with the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019.

Sedillo said that Estacion, the Covid-19 incident commander, had raised a concern over the request during their meeting, saying that if all police personnel were to avail of the RT-PCR tests for free, it will exhaust the resources of the NOPHML.

Sedillo clarified that if a police personnel is required an RT-PCR test for other purposes, such as for promotion or travel, then he or she has to pay the fee as stipulated by the NOPHML.

This also applies to all other agencies and private entities, except for those who are covered by the law as “exemptions” or “privileged”, but these are non-transferrable, he said.

If the PNP organization has a budget for Covid testing, the best that the province can offer is for the RT-PCR kits to be brought here, and the NOPHML will run the tests and process the specimens, he added.

The RT-PCR tests are given for free only to patients who are under the category of a suspect or probable for Covid-19, those who exhibit flu-like signs and symptoms, and contacts of persons who have tested positive of the virus, Sedillo said.

“We want to make it clear that we have an ordinance regarding the operations of our NOPHML, and giving in to the request of the PNP might be a precedence for others to follow,” he added.*PNA

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