BAGUIO CITY March 31 – The Health department’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) certified the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) as one of the five sub-national testing centers for the dreaded Coronavrus Disease (COVID-19) that could undertake independent tests for the deadly virus to facilitate the immediate release of results.
The regional of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health regional director Dr. Amelita M. Pangilinan said the certification issued to BGHMC as an independent COVID-19 testing center in Northern Luzon means the hospital can do the initial screening and confirmatory tests for COVID-19 suspects and release the results that are considered final.
She disclosed that designation of the independent COVID-19 testing center will also help reduce the backlog of the RITM and the test results will be in real time to ensure those tested will know their health status without waiting for several days just to know whether or not they have contracted the contagious virus.
BGHMC medical center Chief Dr. Ricardo Ruñez, Jr. said because of the designation of the hospital as an independent COVID-19 testing center and the provision of some 5,000 test kits, the conduct of tests increased from only 40 per day to around 80 to 100 tests daily that facilitates the speedy release of COVID-19 test results for patients.
He added the hospital has no backlog in the conduct of COVID-19 test results thus the release of test results is real time for the benefit of the patients wanting to know whether or not they contracted the deadly virus.
Earlier, the health department designated BGHMC as one of the five sub-national testing centers for COVID-19 but screening tests previously undertaken were still subject to confirmatory tests by the RITM.
BGHMC serves the COVID-19 test requirements of different public and private hospitals in Northern Luzon to help declog backlog of the RITM.
The BGHMC official reported the hospital allotted some 40 beds in the hospital for the exclusive confinement of confirmed COVID-19 patients while the identified persons under investigation (PUIs) with moderate to severe symptoms will be transferred to the identified centralized containment area in the city while awaiting the outcome of their test.
At present, BGHMC is now hosting some 9 confirmed COVID-19 patients all in stable condition while 6 PUIs have been referred to the centralized containment center to join 2 other PUIs that have been earlier referred to the similar facility by private hospitals in the city.
The medical officer claimed the arrival of the test kits in the hospital allows the government facility to increase its capacity to test potential COVID-19 patients, allow the immediate contact tracing as well as ensure the confirmed COVID-19 cases will be immediately isolated from their family members to prevent the spread of the illness and cause the unnecessary increase in cases in the city.
BGHMC is a tertiary government hospital with a maximum bed capacity of 800 catering to the medical requirements of people not only from Baguio City but also those patients coming from the different parts of Northern Luzon.
By Dexter A. See