Red Cross: 5K COVID-19 positives unaware they are infected

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    SEN. Richard Gordon yesterday said the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is ready to help the Department of Health (DOH) in notifying some 5,000 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in confirmatory tests conducted by the humanitarian organization have yet to be informed of their health status.

    Gordon, who is the chairman and chief executive officer of PRC, said while the PRC sends negative results directly to those who undergo COVID testing at its molecular laboratories, positive results are sent to the DOH for individual release to the patients.

    He said this is done since the DOH is in a better position and is better equipped to enforce government mandated health and safety protocols to curb the spread of the virus.

    “Based on calls, emails, and text messages we receive requesting for their test results, at least one-third of over 15,700 positive confirmed cases since July 30 have not been informed yet about their status as confirmed positive and they may be dangerously increasing community transmission,” Gordon said.

    “Given the urgency of the situation, PRC finds it imperative that the positive results should be immediately relayed to the patients as soon as results are available in our system… We are now constrained to request the DOH to allow the PRC to send the positive resu lts to patients through a team of volunteer doctors,” he added.

    Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Harry Roque acknowledged the contributions of the PRC in the fight against COVID-19 and said the government considers it a very important partner of government in the testing capacity.

    However, Roque said the government will not be threatened by Gordon’s threat that the PRC may cease the testing and processing COVID-19 samples unless the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) pays the fees it owes the organization.

    Roque said the government has accredited at least 101 laboratories to handle COVID-19 tests and processing.

    “In answer to the threat, there are now in excess of 101 laboratories doing PCR testing,” he said, adding the government would not have been able to reach its targets of doing a million tests if it only depended on PRC to process the samples.