Test results for Covid-19 samples still pending, says doctor

National

By REBECCA KUKU and SAMUEL BARIASI
COVID-19 test results of 186 samples collected from villages in West Sepik are pending, says West Sepik medical head Dr Stella Jimmy.
Dr Jimmy, who is also the director of curative health services in the province, said initially, 208 samples were collected and all results came back negative.
“A total of 187-plus specimens were collected from Kembiratoro, Kwek, Fonginum, Paningen, Kambriap, Biak 2, Hufi and Telefomin,” she said.
“However, due to bad weather, the national surveillance team could not fly into Tumolbil, Ibil or Bisulmin (in Telefomin) to collect samples.
“So we will start sample collection in Telefomin area next week and also the test results for the 186 samples will be ready by next week.”
Dr Jimmy said the Sandaun provincial hospital cough triage would be operational next week.
“Wutung and Schotchio potential quarantine sites are being deliberated by the Sandaun government operations centre committee,” she said.
“And for referral pathways, guidelines on managing suspected Covid-19 cases have been shared with the districts and the district teams have met with their local ward members and councillors for community engagement and ownership.”
Dr Jimmy said in general, West Sepik had done well in responding to the Covid-19 despite the challenges faced in monitoring the border.
She said the province was doing its best to keep the virus out.
“Today (Monday) is the 110th day since West Sepik began its Covid-19 response (and) we haven’t reported a positive Covid-19 case yet,” she said.
“We do not only have the land border to monitor, we have the waterway connection through the Sepik River system and we have the sea as well to monitor.”
Dr Jimmy said the Government should continue focusing on the borders even after state of emergency was lifted.
“We have three categories of people crossing the border at this time; the traditional border crossers, traders (mainly vanilla), and illegal crossers for illegal activities such as guns and marijuana trading,” she said.
“We still need to get more personal protective equipment for our health workers and our security personnel.”

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