No more Covid-19 testing backlogs in Baguio, 3 regions

BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio General Hospital Medical Center (BGHMC) coronavirus disease (Covid-19) sub-national testing laboratory has no more backlogs in reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, a health official said on Friday.

During a meeting with the city's Inter-Agency Task Force, chaired by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, BGHMC medical chief Dr. Ricardo Ruñez, Jr. said they have tested a total of 2,600 patients in less than a week, covering Baguio, and Regions 1 (Ilocos) and 2 (Cagayan Valley).

Ruñez said that after a lull in testing last weekend, they went full blast processing 600-700 tests a day enabling them to wipe out the backlog.

He said this was a vast improvement from the 300-400 a day capability the previous weeks, with the arrival of the new kits.

He said the delay was caused by two factors: their medical technology staff had to study first the new test kits and they had to rest.

“Kailangang aralin muna ang mga new test kits kaya may delay (The new test kits needed to be studied and learn how to use thus the delay). Then the med techs had to take a rest,” said Ruñez.

Ruñez also announced that they now make full use of the four PCR machines stationed at the facility, while they still have 5,000 test kits remaining for the three regions.

Of the city’s 31 confirmed cases, there were 29 recoveries, one fatality, and one active case remaining now confined at BGHMC.

With the city’s zero backlogs with the continued testing, Magalong is now hopeful that the true Covid-19 situation in the city can be established.

The city’s limited testing capability earlier had hampered its efforts to flatten the curve, he said.

Magalong said Covid-19 national policy chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. and Senator Bong Go have vowed to help the city enhance its testing capacity.

Galvez is scheduled to come up to the city on May 21 to work out the requirements which are expected to include an automated extraction machine, 30,000 test kits, and consumables and personal protective equipment, Magalong said.

The meeting with Galvez, Magalong said, will not only cover the city but the entire Cordillera Administrative Region for unified action against the disease. (PNA)


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