Sample volume overwhelms Hanoi Covid-19 testing capacity

By Le Nga   February 1, 2021 | 11:00 pm PT
Sample volume overwhelms Hanoi Covid-19 testing capacity
Medical workers of Hanoi's Nam Tu Liem District collect Covid-19 samples from around 1,000 students at the Xuan Phuong Primary School, January 31, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Hanoi's Covid-19 testing capacity cannot keep track with the number of samples collected, according to the municipal health department.

Hoang Duc Hanh, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Health, on Monday said the number of requests for sample collection at one time was very high, causing "congestion."

As of Monday, Hanoi has screened over 15,400 cases associated with Covid-19 hotspots in northern Hai Duong and Quang Ninh provinces. Over 14,000 have had their samples collected.

Insufficient testing capacity could pose a problem, said Hanh, as the outbreaks are progressing very quickly, meaning there would be many testing requests.

Hanoi has requested 10 hospitals in the city, along with its own Center for Disease Control (CDC), to perform Covid-19 testing, with a maximum capacity of over 5,000 samples a day.

"Hanoi really needs support from the Ministry of Health," Hanh said, adding he has requested the ministry to deploy 12 support testing units for the city.

"If samples are sent to these 12 units, within the next couple days all collected samples from people who returned from outbreak areas could be dealt with," he said.

At another Monday meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, the Hanoi health department also requested the military to help with organizing centralized quarantine zones.

With support from the central government, the capital could handle up to 30,000 samples a day, according to Dam. As Hai Duong, a major new Covid-19 hotspot, could now perform testing locally, some health ministry units there could lend a hand to Hanoi if needed, he added.

Nguyen Thanh Long, Minister of Health, said Hanoi needs to be able to handle 50,000-100,000 samples a day to keep up with the current outbreak, adding the capital should cooperate with private entities for testing.

As of Tuesday morning, Hanoi has recorded 20 coronavirus cases related to hotspots in Quang Ninh and Hai Duong. So far, the national tally of the ongoing Covid-19 wave is 276, with infections recorded in 10 cities and provinces.

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