Gordon welcomes gov’t findings on ‘false positive’ COVID-19 test cases
Senator Richard J. Gordon today welcomed the result of the investigation by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on the reported 48 “false positive” patients tested at the laboratory clinic of Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chapter in Subic.
Gordon said it has always been clear that the accusation levelled against PRC, which he chairs, is meant to distract him from the Senate investigation into the alleged corruption in the government procurement contracts for COVID-19 response.
“We commend the RITM for its objectivity in conducting its investigation. Clearly, the accusation of ‘false positive’ cases in PRC’s testing was just used to cast doubt on the integrity of the PRC and to distract the Senate investigation,” he said.
Last Sept. 21, Mr. Duterte ordered Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to investigate a complaint that 44 of 49 fully-vaccinated health personnel tested positive for COVID-19 after taking their first RT-PCR test at PRC’s laboratory clinic in Subic.
However, in a letter sent to PRC last Oct. 13, Health Assistant Secretary Nestor Santiago Jr. maintained that the investigation he conducted found no evidence of contamination for the 48 cases tested by PRC and their results were found valid and reliable.
In his 28-page report, he also affirmed that there was no evidence found to suggest that there was a contamination of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to the 48 samples, where 45 tested positive.
He also added that PRC-Subic passed the proficiency test conducted by the government investigative panel, obtaining a 100 percent score since the laboratory followed all procedures expected of them.
According to him, the negative results in a re-test three days later in another laboratory might be due to the natural decline in detectability of the virus.
Gordon, however, lamented how some officials, including Mr. Duterte’s allies at the House of Representatives, were quick to make wild accusation and jump into hasty conclusion in order to gain brownie points for their political patrons.
“The PRC has conducted more than 4.6 million tests since March 2020 and has led in saving thousands of lives for early detection of this deadly virus through the assistance of our 14 molecular laboratories,” he said.
“I thank the hardworking volunteers of PRC, especially our laboratory technicians and medical technologists for their conscientious performance of their duties despite the daily risks to their lives and that of their families,” he added.
To date, the PRC, the country’s premier humanitarian organization, has conducted more than four million swab and saliva tests, which is 21 percent of theCOVID-19 tests conducted in the entire country.
During the initial months of the pandemic in March 2020, the government has asked PRC to establish the molecular laboratories across the country to address the backlog of testing to stem the further spread of the new coronavirus.
Apart from the 14 molecular laboratories it has established, PRC has also assisted the government vaccination program through its Bakuna centers and Bakuna buses, vaccinating over 332,271 doses and having 134,669 people fully vaccinated.
It has also served 4,101 patients in its isolation facilities, while 51,723 patients were provided medical care in its emergency field hospitals and medical tents.
PRC has provided poor families with hot meals through its Hot Meals on Wheels program as it continues to aid and comfort those people who have been affected by disasters, the most recent was those hit by tropical storm Maring.