RITM no longer accepts specimen samples of PUIs from Quezon

April 21, 2020

LUCENA CITY--- The number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Quezon has stopped increasing for a while as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) had ceased from receiving  and processing specimen samples of patients under investigatiom (PUIs) from the province since Saturday.

Quezon so far has 49 confirmed COVID-19 cases, mostly in this city, including 6 deaths.

Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) chief, Dr. Grace Santiago said there is a problem with RITM which already reached its maximum level of capacity in accommodating specimen samples from National Capital Region and Calabarzon region.

"RITM on Saturday ceased accepting samples of COVID-19 patients and suspected cases from the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Quezon", said Santiago.

She also disclosed that there is an ongoing cleaning and disenfection of RITM facilities, the reason why its staff is temporarily down.

At present, Santiago said RITM only accepts samples coming from NCR and Rizal, the province which has the highest COVID-19 cases in Calabarzon region.

As of Sunday, Calabarzon has recorded 691 confimed COVID-19 cases with 83 deaths.

"As an alternative move, we try to send our samples to UP National Institutes of Health but it did not materialize because of its very limited capacity, so we are now negotiating with Lung Center of the Phils. in Manila", Santiago lamented.

With no new COVID-19 cases recorded by RITM, she clarified it’s not a reason for the public to relax.

"Everyone should remain careful and those who are not authorized to get outside of their residence should stay home", she said.

The IPHO chief said there are 266 samples still pending at RITM.