Special task force to clear backlog of virus test samples, says Sabah health director

Sabah health director Dr Christina Rundi.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will be able to determine the actual number of Covid-19 infections in the state once the special task force assigned to the job clears the backlog of over 4,000 test samples.

State health director Dr Christina Rundi said two teams of 15 people each were working in shifts around the clock to clear the backlog after receiving fresh supplies of reagents.

“We’ve been honest about this (backlog) as people have been asking why their test results are late.

“Our target is to clear 4,600 test samples in these two days. Only then can we see the real situation in Sabah,” she told reporters here today.

She said her department is still investigating the number of health workers infected with Covid-19.

Previous reports said a shortage of test kits had hampered Sabah’s efforts to contain the pandemic as health authorities were unable to track down new positive cases.

Sabah has 248 cases so far including seven new cases reported yesterday, with 82 people discharged and 969 still under quarantine. The state has recorded two deaths from the virus.

Sabah Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Frankie Poon said a consistent supply of test kits would be needed to cope with the demand each day.

According to him, one kit allows a total of 200 tests. As they had just received 25 sets from a foundation in Singapore, he added, they would be able to carry out 5,000 tests.

“But, like the director said, if we run up to 1,000 tests a day, in five days these kits will be gone.

“So we need people to donate test kits as well as face masks.”