The Department of Health (DOH-6) on Tuesday, March 31, said it is not possible at this time to test all patients under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs) for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Western Visayas.

Dr. Marlyn Convocar, DOH-6 director, admitted that the agency lacks sufficient financial and human resources.

She said they are prioritizing for now the testing of PUIs and those who came in close contact with coronavirus-positive patients in the region. 

The region currently has one COVID-19 testing center. The Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Iloilo City started testing samples for the disease early last week. It has only two medical technologists.

The testing of all PUIs and PUMs in the region is being pushed by Concepcion Mayor Raul Banias and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas.

Banias said it would help stop local transmission of the disease in Iloilo.

The DOH-6 confirmed on Tuesday the presence of local transmission in the town of Guimbal, which has already three COVID-19 cases.

Treñas also called on the health department to “aggressively test” all persons suspected of having the disease in the region.

“We have the accredited laboratory, the duly trained medical technologists, and the issue on positive patients. Let us now test aggressively,” he said.

The mayor also asked the DOH to “provide PPEs (personal protective equipment) for the doctors of all hospitals both private and public.”

“They need protection in order to treat positive patients. It is incumbent upon the DOH to provide all these,” Treñas said.

“It is now the sworn duty of the DOH to provide the testing and protection for all our doctors. I do not want to see another doctor die because of lack of PPE,” he further said.IMT