By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) has reported no more backlogs in reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
Medical Officer Dr. Ricardo Ruñez, said the hospital, which houses the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) sub-national testing laboratory, reported to City Inter-Agency Task Force Chair Mayor Benjamin Magalong that, in record time of less than a week, they have cleared a total of 2,600 test pileup covering Regions 1 and 2 and the Cordillera Administrative Region including Baguio City.
Magalong commended the team for their hard work while also citing the various hospitals’ excellent management of the patients resulting to a high recovery rate.
Of the city’s 31 confirmed cases, there were 29 recoveries, one fatality, and only one active case remaining.
Magalong said the remaining patient was the policeman from Camp Crame, who was diagnosed last May 12.
He appealed for understanding on behalf of the police officer, who, he said, went home to avail of his vacation leave, but who apparently contracted the disease from his place of work. He is now on the road to recovery, the mayor said.
He said that with the city’s zero backlog status with the continued testing, he was hopeful that the true COVID situation in the city could finally be established.
Magalong earlier rued the city’s limited testing capability that he said had hampered its efforts towards flattening the curve.
His sentiments were heard by COVID-19 national policy chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. and Senator Bong Go who promised to help the city enhance its testing capacity.
He said 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 engagement with Galvez will not only cover the city but the other provinces and city in the region as well for unified action against the disease.
Ruñez said that after a lull in testing last weekend, they went full blast, processing 600 to 700 tests a day that enabled them to wipe out the backlog in less than a week.
He said the newly arrived test kits were new and required further study by their laboratory personnel. They also took advantage of the break to allow their medical technologists to take a rest before working full-time again
Ruñez also announced that the four PCR machines stationed at the facility are now in working condition.
He said they still have 5,000 test kits remaining for the three regions.
He expressed hope that Region 2 could finally establish its own testing laboratory soon to decongest BGHMC’s testing load.