Baguio clears coronavirus tests backlog in record time
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Baguio City's transition to general community quarantine on Saturday, May 16, is off to an auspicious start after wiping out its backlog in reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests in record time.
Dr Ricardo Ruñez, medical officer of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, which houses the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) sub-national testing laboratory, told Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong that BGH finished its 2,600 RT-PCR test pile-up for the city in less than a week.
This is for its high-risk testing program, which targets only those directly in the frontlines.
Ruñez said that, last week, BGH, which also processes RT-PCR results for the whole of Northern Luzon, almost ran out of kits.
With the replenishment, they went full swing, with 4 of their RT-PCR already operational.
With 600 to 700 tests processed per day, they were able to clear their backlog.
Baguio now has only one active confirmed case, the police major from Camp Crame who went home to the city and was diagnosed last May 12.
Magalong, who chairs the city's inter-agency task force against COVID-19, appealed for understanding to 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.
Of its 31 confirmed case, 29 already recovered while one of its earlier cases died because she was already suffering from TB when she contracted COVID in March.
The mayor said that with the city’s zero backlog status with the continued testing, he is now hopeful that the true COVID situation in the city can be established.
The mayor earlier rued the city’s limited testing capability that he said had hampered its efforts towards flattening the curve.
Magalong said COVID-19 national policy chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. is scheduled to come up to the city on May 21 to work out the requirements which is expected to include an automated extraction machine, 30,000 test kits and consummables and personal protective equipment.
The mayor 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 they still have 5,000 test kits remaining for the three regions.
BGH also has three medical technologists working overtime to process the tests while 5 are under training.
He said that he welcomed moves from other sentinel hospitals in the region to come out with their own testing facilities. – Rappler.com