NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
With the continued arrival of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW),there is an urgent need to have a Bohol-based molecular laboratory testing center to hasten the release of results which presently are all done at the Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu City.
Rep. Edgar Chatto told the Chronicle yesterday the huge volume of sample specimen tested at the Cebu-based hospital is causing the delay in the release of results. In fact, the results of the second test conducted among 65 Boholano OFWs were still being awaited while they were supposed to be released last Friday.
The public is wanting to know the results faster in order to be assured on whether there are already positive Covid patients in the province or not.
The solon who made strong representations with Health Secretary Francisco Duque for the accreditation of a laboratory in the province is optimistic that health authorities are fast tracking the evaluation of the facilities of the Gov. CelestinoGallares Regional Hospital to be accredited by the Department of Health and the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine.
He said DOH-7 Regional Director Jaime S. Bernadas confirmed that the Cebu-based government Covid testing hospital is overwhelmed with samples from Cebu where Covid cases continue to increase since after they started massive testing.
A five-man evaluation team from DOH, RITM and WHO arrived yesterday on board a private plane from Manila to evaluate on whether Gallares Hospital will already qualify for accreditation as Covid testing center like the Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu City.
In a separate interview, Dr. MutyaMacuno, chief of the Gov. CelestinoGallares Regional Hospital told the Chronicle yesterday the evaluation team saw the need for some revisions on the layout before the equipments will arrive next week.
Dr. Macuno said the medical technologists will fly to Cebu for a four-day training starting May 11.
Chatto said the bio-safety is what is critical in having the testing laboratory here.
“The biosafety was doubly put in place as an improvement with the first layout suggested by DOH and RITM,” the hospital chief said.
She said a negative pressure room will also be installed aside from the two biosafety cabinets where the specimen are treated with “utmost high level of observance to biosafety standard.”
The strict implementation of DOH-RITM standard has placed the “preparation work accomplishment” conservatively at 50%, Dr. Macuno said.
She said this molecular laboratory testing center is where polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on Covid-19 infections could be conducted.
The National Task Force against Covid 19 sent Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO VivencioDizon, who serves as deputy chief implementer; Rachel Fermo, Fieldela Cruz, Ava Sy, Engr. Archie Reyes, and Dr. Jinho Shin.
They came through a chartered flight which landed at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport yesterday morning and proceeded to GCGMH in Tagbilaran City, a level-3 hospital which bids for accreditation to operate a molecular laboratory.
Macuno said that if Bohol passes the standards, testing for covid-19 could already be done right here in the province and those in severe health conditions would be prioritized in the testing.
PCR machines would be used and the testing kits to be used are the same as the ones used in Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.
Macuno added that with the accreditation of Bohol as testing center, testing for Covid-19 can then be done right in Bohol and specimens will only be submitted to RITM for clarificatory results if the local test result proves positive.