SINGAPORE - Swab tests for the coronavirus have been extended from public and private hospitals here to all 20 polyclinics and several general practitioner clinics, The Straits Times has learnt.
The ParkwayHealth Laboratory, which comes under the Parkway Pantai group, said it has processed swab tests for more than 33 clinics under the Parkway Shenton chain of GP clinics since late March.
It also received samples from 21 GP clinics approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH) for such tests.
Eleven GP clinics under the Raffles Medical Group are also now able to conduct coronavirus swab tests, said its general manager Yong Yih Ming.
The samples will be sent to a lab designated by MOH, he added, without providing details.
Patients who get the swab test done at the clinics, including polyclinics, will typically be asked to return home to wait for the result, as the lab needs time to process the samples.
It can take more than a day for the result to be out.
If the result is positive for coronavirus, the patient will be informed before an ambulance is dispatched to his home to transport him to the nearest public hospital.
The gold standard test is done at laboratories, using the real-time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) technique to detect virus genetic material in a patient's specimen.
In Singapore, the main lab that processes coronavirus tests is the National Public Health Laboratory at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.
The ParkwayHealth Laboratory said that it has processed more than 1,000 tests since March 3, after receiving MOH approval.
It uses the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's (A*Star's) Fortitude test kits for Covid-19.
The A*Star test kit was developed with Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and has been used in six local public hospitals and four private hospitals in Singapore, according to the agency.
The ParkwayHealth Laboratory has been processing samples from GP clinics since late March, it revealed.
The more than 1,000 tests include those done at the GP clinics as well as those done for Covid-19 patients at Parkway hospitals.
Apart from suspected cases, tests are also done on the recovering patients to check if they are still shedding the virus.
They can be discharged only after they attain negative Covid-19 swab test results on two consecutive days.