BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson assured the mayors of Negros Occidental yesterday that the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital laboratory in Silay City will release the COVID-19 negative test results of their constituents within a maximum of four days from when their swab specimens are taken.
Positive test results are released by the Department of Health.
The governor gave the assurance amid complaints from the mayors that the delayed release of test results has caused the delay in the release of quarantined persons in their facilities, that has been draining their resources.
The LGUs are happy with the four-day release of test results because there have been many cases of quarantined persons having to wait 14 to 20 days or even more than that, Lacson said.
“Finally we have found a solution,” he said, adding that in fact locally stranded individuals who arrived at the Bacolod Silay Airport on Friday were swabbed and their test results were released on Sunday.
“It can even go as fast as two days,” he said.
The governor said 2Go vessels arrived Friday and during the weekend, bringing in more than 1,000 stranded Negrenses that somehow delayed the encoding of test results but after yesterday they will again be up to date, the governor said.
“We will keep our word that four days after swabbing the list of negatives will be released,” he said.
On the possibility that Negros Occidental could again be placed under General Community Quarantine, Lacson said it will depend on the numbers but right now the Modified GCQ is just appropriate for Negros Occidental.
At the meeting with the mayors, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said while the provincial government conducts COVID-19 tests on its returning residents from Iloilo, Bacolod City allows the unrestricted, unchecked and untested entry of people from Iloilo that is a cause for alarm.
He said some of the people who arrived from Iloilo whom the provincial government tested had COVID-positive results, so it is not known if there are those who entered Bacolod with the virus since they are not tested by the city government.
Lacson said he will raise the concern with the Bacolod City government.
On the need for Negrense OFWs returning to their jobs abroad to be tested for COVID-19, Lacson said they will have go to the Philippine Red Cross laboratory that will open in Bacolod City soon.
The provincial government cannot shoulder the cost for the departing OFWs as it is continuing to test returning residents, he said.
The Red Cross is expected to charge P4,000 per test, and if it has a memorandum of agreement with the local government where the person wanting to be tested is from, the fee will be P3,500, Lacson added.*