BAGUIO CITY March 19 – The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) disclosed that the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) started screening the swab samples of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) suspects that are being brought to the designated sub-national testing center.
DOH-CAR regional director Dr. Amelita M. Pangilinan said that an initial 100 COVID-19 testing kits recently arrived in the city that allowed the BGHMC to roll out the screening of the swab samples of persons under investigation (PUIs).
However, she explained the results of the screening done in the designated sub-national testing center will still be subject to confirmatory tests by the Manila-based Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) as the test kits provided to the testing center can only ascertain 3 of the 4 strains of the virus and the remaining 1 strain can only be detected by the RITM.
The DOH-CAR official pointed out that because the available test kits are limited, the sample of those PUIs with severe symptoms and those with underlying medical conditions will be prioritized for screening.
According to her, once the initial screening will turn out to be positive, such results will be immediately brought to the RITM for confirmatory laboratory tests.
Pangilinan called on the individuals wanting to submit themselves for COVID-19 testing for utmost understanding because BGHMC is still prioritizing those that are supposed to undergo the required screening considering the limited availability of test kits.
Earlier, the DOH central office designated the BGHMC and four other tertiary hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR), Visayas and Mindanao as sub-national testing centers for COVID to help speed up the release of the results of individuals who were tested and remain as PUIs.
The DOH-CAR director expressed optimism that once the donated test kits shall have been received by the health department, the number of test kits in the sub-national testing centers will increase and allow more individuals to be tested.
She stated the government remains to be in control of the situation amidst the continuous daily surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases thus people must continue cooperating with the strict implementation of the stringent rules and regulations considering that these are part of the precautionary measures taken to prevent the virus from spreading and infecting more people in the different parts of the country.
Pangilinan emphasized there will still be a continues surge in COVID-19 cases in the country in the coming days thus it is important for everyone to continue boosting their immune system by eating the right kind of food and to practice healthy lifestyle to prevent them from contracting the deadly virus and other illnesses that will compromise their health.
By Dexter A. See