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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The provincial government is eying the provision of an additional reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine to the Benguet General Hospital (BeGH) molecular laboratory to speed up the release of swab test results of suspected or probable Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients whose swab specimens are being submitted to the laboratory for confirmatory tests.
Gov. Melchor Diclas stated that the province intends to partner with some suppliers of consumables being used in the molecular laboratory so that the said entities will allow the free use of their RT-PCR machines in exchange for the purchase of the required consumables from them to help in improving the services of the laboratory.
He said that the 2 RT-PCR machines and the automated extraction machine being used in the molecular laboratory seem to be sufficient in the past, but because of the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases due to the emergence of the Delta variant, there is a need to further equip the laboratory to help in speeding up the release of the swab test results of patients required to undergo the RT-PCR test.
Last year, Benguet caretaker congressman and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Yap personally shelled out his resources to pursue the construction of the molecular laboratory within the BEGH compound to allow the health facility to conduct the required RT-PCR test for suspected and probable COVID-19 patients and contribute in efforts to decongest the Baguio General Hospital (BGH), the designated sub-national testing laboratory in Northern Luzon,
Further, Congressman Yap also sourced out the 2 RT-PCR machines and the automated extraction machines aside from the initial supply of consumables that had been used in the molecular laboratory since it was issued the license to operate early this year.
Benguet is among the few provinces and cities that were able to establish their respective molecular laboratories to help the health department speed up the conduct of tests in the different parts of the country to ascertain the percentage of the population that is infected with the deadly virus.
Diclas explained that there is no problem with the prescribed process in the conduct of the tests by the personnel of the molecular laboratory but what is contributing to the delays in the release of the results is the alleged recording of the data as the same has to be furnished to the central and regional offices of the health department.
According to him, there are also instances that the internet signal is weak that is why there are some delays in the transmission of the data despite the personnel being required to work in shifts to cater to the increasing number of swab specimens being submitted for confirmatory tests by the laboratory.
He asserted that the round-the-clock services of the province’s molecular laboratory will continue with the increasing number of swab specimens being submitted by the different municipal health offices for their constituents that are being required to undergo the required RT-PCR test for various purposes, especially when they are close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 patients who had been traced by contact tracers in their respective areas of jurisdiction. By HENT