Tests sent to private labs in KL cause of backlog

Dr Sim Covid
Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian

KUCHING: The backlog for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in Sarawak was due to the samples being sent to private labs in Kuala Lumpur.

Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said that the State Health Department were sending the samples to private labs as per the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) arrangements due to the increase in testing.

The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor said the state carried out up to 28,000 PCR tests on Sunday (Sept 12).

“There were up to 62,000 PCR tests per day for Malaysia on Sept 10. The state recorded its single highest daily cases on Sunday. However, 1,412 of those tests results were from the backlog.

“I have discussed with medical experts in the State Health Department and MOH to consider using the Antigen Rapid Test Kit (RTK-Ag) as our objective at this stage of the pandemic is to diagnose Covid-19 as soon as possible so that we can enforce quarantine to break the local transmission,” he explained in a Facebook post yesterday (Sept 13).

At the same time, Dr Sim reminded that the Delta variant is airborne; thus, urging the public to wear masks when out in public and to wear them properly.

“We cannot be 100 percent sure that the air we breathe will always be safe. By wearing a mask, it can help reduce the risk of Covid-19 in two ways — namely if the air has been contaminated, the mask can filter the air.

“Secondly, if an infected person is present, the mask can stop the person from contaminating the air by containing airway droplets and saliva within his or her mask,” he said.

He added that wearing masks is a simple and effective step; however, one must be weary of his or her surroundings before removing the mask.

He noted that removing one’s mask in public places can put oneself in danger and endanger others.

“Other ways to protect ourselves is to get vaccinated as well as by encouraging others to get vaccinated. Clean your hands frequently especially before touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

“It is best to reduce physical interactions with people including family members and relatives who are not living with you,” he said.