COVID-19: Western Region Veterinary Lab Receives Fresh Samples For Testing
The Western Regional veterinary laboratory in Takoradi of the Western Region has taken delivery of its first batch of COVID-19 samples for testing.
The 80 samples which came from the Sekondi-Takoradi Metro, Effia-Kwesimintsim and the Elllembelle District are expected to go through sorting, extraction and master mixing for final results on Tuesday, May 4, 2020.
The Head of the Takoradi veterinary laboratory, Dr. Oliver Boakye Dankwa, told Citi News that the laboratory has the capacity of testing 300 samples daily.
“Takoradi Veterinary has had support from the Canadian government for a while now. They are the ones who provided us with this Bio-Safety Level two and three laboratories and currently, we are offering the facility to support the government in testing for the COVID-19. So this laboratory is now fully ready to start testing and we are receiving our first batch of samples today. According to our calculation, we would be able to test 300 samples a day. If we are doing 300 samples a day, we would be able to test cases from the Western Region and even some parts of Central as well as Western North. Right now what we need is PPEs. We have some from Nugochi but the problem with that is that we only wear them once and have to burn it after, so we need more and more each day, therefore we need any help with PPEs."
Head of the Western Regional Public Health Laboratory, Ebenezer Kofi Mensah, who brought the first batch of COVID-19 samples to the veterinary Lab told Citi News, the testing in Takoradi will help to reduce the waiting time for results and ensure earlier contact tracing.
“I brought 80 samples today to the Takoradi Veterinary laboratory. The samples are coming from Sekondi-Takoradi Metro, Effia-Kwesimintsim and Ellembelle District. So hopefully we are going to start sorting out the sample today, then tomorrow the extraction team will continue with the extraction, then the master mix team will also take over. Hopefully tomorrow, the results will be out. Previously, samples were being sent to Nugochi and it took a longer time, so we normally did not meet our turnaround time, and facilities would be calling for their results. So now that we are going to start testing in Takoradi here, it is going to reduce our turnaround time and people are going to get results faster as compared to sending the samples to Noguchi. Once the result is positive and communicated to the facility, immediately contact tracing will start, so they wouldn't delay with the contact tracing which can easily help in contacting the individual who has had contact with the confirmed cases."
A laboratory technician, Bright Osei who will see to the final results spoke to the Citi News on their Operations.
“We are in the BSL two lab and here is where the final test is being run after extraction has taken place and template added to confirm whether the sample is positive or negative. This one can take more samples at a time and has 96 wells."
The Western Regional Veterinary Laboratory in Takoradi is one of the new testing centers to help Ghana increase its current testing capacity for real-time positive results.
The Region currently has 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases with over 307 pending results waiting at the Noguchi laboratory. It is expected that results from the Takoradi Veterinary Laboratory would be a game-changer with the region's response readiness.