CAPE TOWN – Dis-Chem has closed all Covid-19 testing facilities across the country due to an overwhelming backlog of test results.
Dis-Chem had offered convenient Covid-19 testing facilities throughout the country with some even set up as drive-through testing centres, however with the surge in infections and especially the drastic spike taking place in Gauteng, the company is needing to put a halt to the facilities for the foreseeable future.
The company mentions that they are just facilitators with their tests needing to be sent to labs, but as the surge in infections hits the country, labs are needing to prioritise important hospital tests as one factor contributing to the backlog of their results.
The company has looked at the distributing their tests provincially as a solution to their backlog and helping decrease test turnaround time, however, domestic flights are currently limited which may make things a little more difficult.
Dis-Chem’s national clinic manager, Lizeth Kruger, said “We are constantly following up with the various laboratories, but they are being forced to prioritise urgent hospital tests. The number of labs that can do the tests is limited and we are spreading our load across as many as possible. Another factor affecting the speed of testing and obtaining results is the reduced number of flights around the country, so transporting tests to the labs from outlying cities and other remote stations is delayed.”
“The reality of the situation is one that the healthcare sector has never faced an issue of this nature, and the fast-growing infection numbers are having a broad impact. This is just one example of an over-burdened system.”
When Dis-Chem receives the results, they are immediately SMS’d to the patient, said Kruger, “We don’t want to let our customers down and as we are only facilitators; we have no control over the labs. We reiterate our intention to support the government by providing additional testing capacity, but this is out of our hands.”
“We apologise for the delays and assure our customers and public that we are doing everything in our power to get results to them as quickly as we can. We will review the situation on a regular basis and will consider reopening the testing facilities once we are assured that the various labs can cope with demand. The pandemic and the rising numbers are leading to panic, and we urge consumers only to get tested if they develop symptoms,” Kruger says.
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