Gauteng Department of Health confirmed on Monday that there was a shortage of N1 and N4 National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) forms at some clinics in north of Pretoria.
Some Tshwane residents were turned back from testing stations amid shortage of COVID-19 forms on Monday. The Health department said the shortage was due to a high demand at testing facilities.
“N1 and N4 NHLS (Laboratory) forms were out of stock on the 06th January 2021 at the two mentioned facilities because of high demand. These forms have a unique identifier, which the laboratory uses as a tracking number and therefore without these forms the facilities were unable to take specimen. On the same day the 06th January 2021 Eersterust Community Health Centre borrowed the two facilities some of the forms. And on the 08th [January] the normal supply of the said form was received from NHLS,” said the Gauteng Health department.
When Newsnote visited Soshanguve Clinic in Block BB and another clinic in Block JJ, patients complained about lack of COVID-19 forms and being turned back without testing.
The people who stood for hours on a long queue at Block BB clinic spoke on condition of anonymity. One woman said she was coming to the clinic for the third time after being turned back twice last week.
“I started coming to the clinic last week Wednesday to test and I was turned back saying they don’t have forms anymore. On Thursday again when I came here I was told the same thing. When I questioned when they are expected to get these forms they said they don’t know when they will receive them," said the woman.
She added she was told that all “eight clinics around Soshanguve testing for COVID-19 have the same problem.”
She said she uses public transport to go to the clinic and was scared that she would infect other people, especially her family members. She added that she is frustrated as she can’t return to work until she get her results.
With an increased number of COVID-19 tests, the department said it takes "three to five days” to get results back.
“The total number of tests done in all Tshwane clinics has increased from about 900 per week in October to 6000 per week in January. The bigger facilities like Community Health Centres test an average of 100 patients per day while the smaller clinics test an average of 25 patients per day,” said the Gauteng Health department.
City of Tshwane was declared one of Gauteng's COVID-19 hotspots.
A 29-year-old man who had also been waiting on the queue for a COVID-19 test said he arrived at the clinic at 6am and he was told that there were no COVID-19 forms.
The Department of Health assured residents that the clinics now have the necessary forms and would get them tested.