After surviving a coronavirus disease 2019 infection while in Cebu City, the two medical technologists from the Governor Celestino Galllares Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) are set to return home to Bohol and soon take on the vital role of manning the province’s first COVID-19 testing laboratory.
Their homecoming was set in motion after both tested negative in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests based on results released on Tuesday, said GCGMH chief of doctors Dr. Mutya Kismet Macuno.
“Gi-kompleto nalang ilang mga clearances sa Cebu like mga certificate of quarantine, ilang certificate of training, ug tanan pruweba na cleared na sila na makatabok dinhi sa Bohol,” she said.
The two medical technologists were deployed by the GCGMH to Cebu City on May 10 to train on how to conduct COVID-19 testing on swab samples, but they tested positive for the disease three days later while still in the virus-stricken city.
They were able to complete their training but had to undergo quarantine with a Boholano doctor who was with them and also tested positive for COVID-19.
According to Macuno, both medical technologists volunteered “without fear” to take part in the training and be sent to Cebu City which is one of the virus’ worst-hit cities in the Philippines.
“Kadtong atong mga staff intaw’n nagsakripisyo to sila, wa g’yud to sila mahadlok nga ang Cebu dunay virus,” said Macuno.
Having trained medical technologists to conduct PCR tests is among the requirements set by the DOH for the GCGMH’s laboratory to be certified as a COVID-19 testing center.
The province of Bohol currently does not have a COVID-19 testing center causing longer waiting periods for the release of tests results of locals suspected of being infected with the disease and their contacts.
Swab samples extracted from individuals in Bohol need to be shipped to Cebu City for testing at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center or the DOH 7’s laboratory which both have been swamped with samples from the COVID-stricken city and other provinces in the region.
“Tungod kay nasayod man ta ron sa sitwasyon sa Cebu na nagkadaghan pa man intawn ang ilang mga gipang swab na pasyente, nag-perform naman sila og community testing…mao ni ang rason na para dili malangan ni atong turnaround time sa pagkuha aning atong giingon na nasopharyngeal swab oropharyngeal swab for the PCR testing naningkamot g’yud ta og maayo na mahipno ni atong molecular laboratory,” said Macuno.
Based on latest updates, the GCGMH’s laboratory is now on the fourth phase of the five-stage accreditation process for COVID-19 testing centers.
The medical technologists who will run the lab and the doctor from Cebu City meanwhile are set to be ferried to Bohol in the forthcoming days but will need to undergo a 14-day quarantine in the province as precautionary measure.
Several equipment particularly those needed for biosafety at the GCGMH lab have also yet to be delivered from both local and international suppliers.