Mohammad Ali Hospital, a 250-bed hospital in Bogura dedicated to treating coronavirus patients, has halted collecting samples owing to a backlog in testing at the only RT-PCR lab in the district.
The hospital has not yet received results of 232 samples since May 26.
"We used to collect more than 50 samples from our outdoor centre but we closed collection because we did not get results from the RT-PCR lab at Bogura Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College," ATM Nuruzzaman Sanchoy, superintendent of Mohammad Ali Hospital, told The Daily Star.
Over 1,000 samples collected from various upazila health complexes of Bogura in the last seven days are also yet to be tested at the Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College lab, said Mostafizur Rahman Tuhin, deputy civil surgeon of Bogura.
"If they cannot test a sample within seven days there is a chance that it may get damaged or become unusable," said Mostafizur Rahman Tuhin.
"Till today, we have had a backlog of more than 1,150 samples. We only have one PCR machine which has been running for two shifts every day. We can also only test 188 samples a day," Rezaul Alam, principal of Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College, told The Daily Star.
"More than 400 samples are sent to our lab every day from Bogura, Joypurhat, Gaibandha, and Naogaon districts, and it is beyond our capacity to conduct that many tests a day. As such, we have decided to send some samples to Dhaka," Rezaul Alam added.
"The number of Covid-19 patients in Bogura has already exceeded 300 and the infection is spreading rapidly. We need more PCR labs immediately to test the rising numbers of samples from suspected cases," said Bogura Civil Surgeon Md Gaosul Azim Choudhury.
Meanwhile, TMSS and Rafatullah Community Clinic and Hospital, a private hospital run by an NGO, has started testing samples since May 30, at a price of Tk 4,000 for each test, the civil surgeon added.