Jhalakathi drug store owner Jahid Hossain got his novel coronavirus test result ten days after taking the test. He ran his pharmacy and handled hundreds of customers as usual until his report came back positive.
Like his son, Jahid's father waited for a week for the report, visiting different places and attending a mass gathering.
The duo had almost no major symptoms except a little cough. Both the patients were put under self-isolation as they were found positive for the virus.
The virus test reports are taking too long in Barishal division as the lone RT-PCR lab at the Sher-E-Bangla Medical College (SBMC) Hospital is struggling with piled-up medical samples.
The lab can handle 186 to 279 samples a day while more than 500 samples from six districts arrive at the testing facility daily.
Dr Mohammod Bakir Hossain, director of SBMC Hospital, said, "Our 32 lab staff members have been working in shifts since the lab started work three months ago."
"Due to the extensive workload and scant resources, many people have to wait for a long time to get the reports," he added.
Jhalakathi district Civil Surgeon Dr Abul Hasan said setting PCR machines at district hospitals could relieve the pressure.
Meanwhile, Bhola Civil Surgeon Dr Raton Kumar Dhali said the district headquarters hospital has a PCR machine, but it cannot go into operation since there is no technician to run it.
Barishal Divisional Director of the health and family planning office Bashu Deb Das said they often have to send medical samples to Dhaka due to the load on SBMC Hospital lab. "However, the total process – sending samples to Dhaka, testing and getting reports from there – takes time," he added.
"Bhola's lab will be started very soon. Additionally, I have sent a proposal to set up a lab in Patuakhali Medical College and Hospital," he added.
Apart from Bhola and Patuakhali, Barguna people formed a human chain in the district town, Thursday, demanding a test lab be opened there. In Barishal division, 1,298 people tested positive for Covid-19 as of Friday morning with 27 deaths.
Among the deceased, 17 people died in June.