Osaka, May 3 (Jiji Press)–Suspected COVID-19 patients in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, were forced to wait up to 10 days before taking polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests, for detecting infection in mid-April, Jiji Press learned Sunday.
People in Osaka still had to wait about five days before getting tested as of Friday
The long waiting time reflects a surge in the overall number of possible virus carriers and the preference given to the testing of severely ill patients and people related to group infection cases, according to officials of the health center of the city of Osaka.
There was even a case in which a suspected patient was taken to a hospital while waiting to undergo the testing after experiencing a health condition turn for the worse.
Osaka Prefecture, where the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases has exceeded 1,600, has the capacity to conduct PCR tests on about 420 patients per day. It plans to boost the daily number to some 890 by seeking the cooperation of private-sector testing bodies.
Town doctors are struggling to take appropriate responses when patients with fever come see them.
A clinic in Osaka Prefecture asks such patients to visit during a specific period of time of the day so that staff members in protective suits can see them.
The head of this clinic complained that local health centers are rejecting most of testing requests for patients recognized by doctors as in need of being tested. He said he knows of a case in which a health center refused to conduct a PCR test on a patient who had been found to have pneumonia.
“It’s really hard for patients not to be tested for days despite having a fever of 39 degrees Celsius,” the clinic head said. “My heart bleeds for patients who are forced to bear such a heavy burden for the sake of preventing the medical care system from collapsing.”