An official at the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) appealed for patience from the public as it continues to work on the establishment of Bohol’s first molecular laboratory for COVID-19 testing which has been plagued with several delays.
GCGMH medical chief Dr. Mutya Kismet Macuno said that they are expecting the completion of the lab within the month.
“Tagae lang ta og dugang pang pasensya, mag-ampo tang tanan…hopefully within July naa na g’yud ni siya,” Macuno said.
According to the hospital official, they are tentatively scheduled to ask for samples from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for them to run proficiency testing for the new laboratory.
After passing the proficiency test, the facility may start to operate.
Most of the equipment for the facility including the PCR machines have already been delivered to Bohol while a reagent refrigerator is scheduled to arrive this week.
“Magpadala na ta og pictures sa RITM, ilang tan-awon ang atong mga certificate of calibration sa atong tanan na mga equipment…ang next step, magpadala sila og sample, e-testing nato, ipa-run nato, ilang tan-awon kung ensakto ba,” she said.
The laboratory was initially set to start operations in June but the launch was deferred to mid-July due to delays in the arrival of equipment.
According to Macuno, the GCGMH molecular lab will be run by five health workers including two medical personnel who were sent to Cebu City for a three-day training at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center until Friday.
Macuno said that once the laboratory is approved for operations, they can issue results of PCR tests in 24 hours.
The facility is expected to be able to test 1,600 samples per day.
Bohol currently has no operational PCR laboratory leaving the province dependent on Cebu for COVID-19 testing.
It has caused delays in the release of test results of swab samples taken from individuals in Bohol as laboratories in Cebu are swamped with testing of other samples from Cebu City which is a virus hot spot and the rest of the region.