Operation of BeGH molecular lab suspended

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The turnaround time in the release of swab test results from the Benguet General Hospital (BeGH) molecular laboratory might take a longer period of time following the temporary suspension of the province’s premier facility due to various human resource and technical reasons.

Gov. Melchor Diclas admitted that the operation of the BeGH molecular laboratory was temporarily suspended because most of the medical technologists tested positive of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) that compelled them to undergo the required 14-day isolation.

Further, he stated that the existing units of equipment of the facility will have to be subjected to the regular maintenance in time for the isolation of the medical technologists so that the same will be ready once the assigned personnel will report for work in the next several days following the completion of their respective isolation period.

The governor said that the swab specimens from the different municipalities will be temporarily tested at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) molecular laboratory, the designated sub-national testing center in Northern Luzon, but the release of the swab test results might take some time because of the numerous swab samples from the different parts of Northern being brought to the facility for testing.

However, the BGHMC molecular laboratory had reportedly scaled down its operation because of certain technical problems that are now being addressed that is why the release of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests will have to take a longer period of time.

Earlier, the health department granted the required license to operate of the BeGH molecular laboratory after it was able to pass the stringent technical requirements that paved the way for the timely release of swab test results of specimens coming not only from the 13 municipalities but also from neighboring provinces in the Cordillera.

It can be recalled that Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap personally provided the funds that was used to construct the structure and purchase the needed RT-PCR and automated extraction machines that will be used for the testing of swab specimens in the facility.

Congressman Yap also personally followed up with the health department the release of the license to operate after the same was delayed for quite some time even if the facility was ready for operation as early as late last year. The BeGH molecular laboratory is the only facility that utilized private funds and was erected within a government property which the people and officialdom of Benguet are grateful to the efforts of Congressman Yap to make the same possible.

Health officials who visited the hospital recently assured the agency’s all-out support to the sustained operation of the laboratory by ensuring the availability of some 30,000 test kits that will be used to significantly improve the testing capacity of the province to immediately detect suspected and probable cases for them to be isolated and prevent them from continuously spreading the virus. By HENT