BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
THIRTY-ONE swabs collected in the contact tracing to the latest covid-19 scare have all tested negative.
The samples are from the student’s village in Malaita of people with whom he had interacted following his return there up to the time he re-tested positive for covid-19.
The negative results are confirmed by both machines, the GeneXpert and the qPCR.
This was confirmed by Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Health and Medical Service Pauline McNeil yesterday in a radio talkback show on covid-19 updates.
“The result of the 31 samples of those who came in close contact with the student who is said to be reactivated with COVID-19 are brought into the Molecular laboratory at the National Referral Hospital and are all returned negative on the GeneXpert machine for the initial testing as well as the repeat testing.
“On the qPCR machine, am pleased to announce that testing result on this machine is also negative. So, there is some level of comfort and assurance that we can have at this time,” said Mrs McNeil.
She said of the 31 contacts, repeat swabs will be done after 14 days. The swabs will be collected by the health team.
“Also, as of today (yesterday) the health team is expanding their contact tracing of the 31 in Malaita just to give us a good level of confidence and assurance,” said McNeil.
She said for Honiara the team have worked very hard to find the student’s close contacts but were not able to really find the close contacts but the work is ongoing.
“People have to come up front to tell honestly and truthfully who is the close contact of the reactivation case.
“At this point, I want o acknowledge the support of the community, the parent’s relatives and friends of the case for your cooperation, understanding and support in assisting out health team rolling out their work during the recent incident.
“Also, I would like to remind the public that the work behind the scene done by the health team is quite huge. Its hard work and efforts that health team done and they only reach out to the public appreciation and understanding on the work they do,” said McNeil.
Dr Yogesh Choudri, technical advisor to Ministry of Health and Medical Services, said for this recent case the person was not able to pass on the infection to others because of the low virus presence in the body.
“We will be doing more monitoring of the population in Malaita to get more samples of the close contacts of the case just to make sure there is no community spread of the COVID-19.
“At the same time, I would encourage the people in other contacts that we may have wish to come forward to our health team for swabbing to protect each our families and communities from the infection,” said Choudri.
He said the purpose of contacts is not to blame anyone and not to stigmatize anyone.
“Our purpose is very clear, we want to protect you, we want to protect your families and to protect the communities and the country.
Please support the teams that are there in the field, please when they come speak the truth and let us know who are the contacts.”