The two Boholano medical technologists and physician who volunteered to undergo training on coronavirus disease 19 testing in Cebu City accomplished what they set out to do, bringing Bohol a step closer to its goal of establishing a COVID-19 testing center.
Their accomplishment however came at a hefty price after all three of them tested positive for the respiratory disease while in COVID 19-stricken Cebu City.
According to Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) chief Dr. Mutya Kismet Macuno, the medical team sent by the hospital completed their training before they were informed that they were infected with the disease late last week.
“Nahuman diay g’yud intaw’n sila,” said Macuno after confirming with the medical team on Monday.
Macuno said that having trained medical technologists capable of manning certified testing facilities is among requirements set by the Department of Health (DOH) for a hospital to pass the third stage of certification in operating a molecular laboratory that can detect SARS CoV-2—the virus that causes the dreaded respiratory illness.
The GCGMH, the largest public hospital in the province, was elevated to the third stage of certification after it passed the inspection conducted by a team from the DOH, World Health Organization and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine over a week ago.
“Naa pa gihapon ta sa stage three, ang stage four ana kung mahipno na nato ang tanang equipment, mana og training atong mga medtech ug staff, so magpadala na ta og sample didto unya e-check sa RITM. Kung ma abot ni sa ilang standards then we will proceed with the performance of the lab,” Macuno added.
The GCGMH meanwhile is also undergoing physical improvements to meet the biosafety standards set by the DOH to ensure that there will be no contamination at the hospital due to mishandling of samples that are being tested by its laboratory.
Macuno said that the GCGMH can conduct at least 500 tests per day once its molecular laboratory starts to operate.
Infected in Cebu
According to Macuno, the two medical technologists and doctor who traveled from Bohol and Dumaguete City, respectively, arrived in Cebu on Sunday last week and were tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
The doctor who came from Dumaguete City is a GCGMH health worker who got stranded in the Negros city after travel restrictions were imposed nationwide to contain the spread of the virus in mid-March.
Once he knew about the GCGMH efforts’ to establish a molecular laboratory, he volunteered to join the hospital’s team for a training in Cebu City.
Macuno said that the three-man medical team after arriving in Cebu City only went out to buy food before settling in their quarters and attending a series of lectures.
“Pag-abot nila didto sa Cebu, ning adto sila sa 7eleven kuno namalit sila og pagkaon, unya after that niadto sila sa ilang gipuy-an then ni attend sila og lecture,” said Macuno.
The three coronavirus-stricken medical frontliners are asymptomatic but are being quarantined.
DOH 7 director Dr. Jaime Bernadas earlier noted that the three medical personnel may have contracted the disease in Bohol but Macuno disagreed, saying that she believes it was more likely for them to get infected in Cebu City which is a “hotspot” for the disease while Bohol only has one confirmed case.
Contract-tracing efforts however were still launched in Bohol after the two medical technologists tested positive for the disease as precautionary measure.
First-generation contacts or families of both medical frontliners have been quarantined and tested for COVID-19. Second-generation contacts, or their colleagues at work, were also tested.