CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The Department of Health in Northern Mindanao (Region 10) said Wednesday, March 18, it was coordinating with the Philippine Air Force for the quick delivery of specimens of Persons Under Investigation (PUI) from here to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Metro Manila.
At present, it is only the RITM which confirms if a PUI is infected with the novel coronavirus.
DOH Region 10 Director Adriano Suba-an said that they have coordinated with the PAF for the delivery of Universal Tranport Medium (UTM) and other tools to be used to transport the specimens.
The UTM is a room temperature stable viral transport medium used for collection, transport, maintenance and long-term storage of viruses.
“We coordinated with Colonel Rommel Almaria and they responded that they would provide us with the schedules of the Air Force plane so we can send the samples,” Suba-an said.
Suba-an said the first step of the process is, if the PUI has severe acute respiratory illness, especially if doctors suspect COVID-19, a swab specimen will be taken and stored in the UTM. The next step is the UTM with the specimen would be sent to the RITM, which houses the DOH national research laboratory for confirmatory tests.
Aside from transporting samples, the PAF has also agreed to facilitate the transfer of medical resources from the National Capital Region to Northern Mindanao.
“We also coordinated with the DOH Central Office that if there are items that they need to send to us here, they can send it through the (PAF) plane. We also contacted director Celia Carlos, the director of the RITM, that if there are supplies that they wanted to send to us, they can send (to the Air Force).” – Rappler.com