The Tagbilaran City local government unit (LGU) is planning to establish a molecular laboratory testing center in a bid to hasten the release of results of RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests particularly those of returning locally stranded individuals.
“Ga plano g’yud ang city ana nga mo tukod og molecular laboratory, pero kanang pagtukod nato ana di na siya ingon na pareha sa ordinary laboratory,” said Tagbilaran City Health Officer Dr. Jeia Pondoc.
According to Pondoc, they started to coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in identifying a suitable location for the laboratory.
“Mangita pa ta og lugar kung asa ni siya dapat, atong e-check sa DENR kung maayo ba ni na lugar,” she said.
The city however is still in the early stages of the implementing the project as Pondoc noted that they would still need to train medical workers to man the facility and secure equipment including those for biohazard safety.
Bohol which has been receiving the influx of LSIs continues to rely on Cebu for its PCR testing causing delays in the release of the results as laboratories in the neighboring province are swamped with swab samples from across the region including virus hotspot Cebu City.
All 25 active COVID-19 cases in the province are LSIs.
The latest COVID-19 cases which were announced by Gov. Art Yap on Sunday night are LSis from Tagbilaran City including a 28-year-old woman of Barangay Poblacion II and 30-year-old from Barangay Manga.
Ppndoc said that some 398 LSIs remain quarantined in the city’s isolation and quarantine facilities while 328 have been allowed to return home after their mandatory 14-day quarantine.
The city is the only locality in the province which subjects all of its LSIs under PCR and rapid COVID-19 testing. Having its own testing center is seen to boost its quarantine process.
The LGU’s plan to build its own molecular lab is one of several lofty goals to boost the province’s COVID-19 testing capability including the Capitol’s mulled initiative to build laboratories at the Bohol Medical Care Institute (BMCI) and at key entry points such as the Bohol Panglao International Airport and at the seaports of Tagbilaran City, Tubigon, Getafe, Talibon, Ubay and Jagna.
So far, the province has no operational COVID-testing center as the molecular laboratory at the Department of Health-run Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) has been repeatedly delayed in its launching. (R. Tutas)