Proficiency test for Tabuk molecular lab workers awaited

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The local government is still awaiting the definite schedule of the proficiency test of the health workers that will be overseeing the affairs of the city-owned Tabuk molecular laboratory for the same to be fully operational the soonest to help in speeding up the release of swab test results of suspected and probable Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases not only from the city but also from the whole province.

Mayor Darwin C. Estrañero disclosed that the earliest schedule of training for local health workers assigned to administer the operation of the molecular laboratory that the local government was able to get from the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) molecular laboratory, the designated sub-national testing center in Northern Luzon by the Manila-based Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM), is on May 12, 2021.

However, he claimed that efforts are being done by city officials and health authorities to lobby for a much earlier schedule to facilitate the immediate operation of the local government-funded molecular laboratory which is the first LGU-funded laboratory in the north.

The local chief executive stipulated that the local government is eager for the operation of the molecular laboratory so that the release of swab test results of suspected and probable COVID patients from the city and the province could be immediately done to allow concerned health authorities to implement the appropriate interventions that will curb the significant increase in the number of cases in the city and the province.

Last year, the local government worked out the realignment of some P15 million from previously programmed development projects to fund the establishment of the city-owned molecular laboratory to facilitate the timely release of swab test results of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests from the city and the province.

Mayor Estrañero pointed out that the local government had to sacrifice some of its previously funded priority development projects to allow the put up of the molecular laboratory because it is the emerging need of the health facility to help decongest other health facilities in the region from the congestion due to the numerous swab tests coming from different parts of Northern Luzon that should be confirmed and validated by the molecular laboratory in BGHMC.

He stipulated that there is a need to speed up the release of swab test results from existing molecular laboratories by complimenting the operation of the same by putting up similar facilities so that the present turnaround time of 7 to 10 days will be reduced to at least 2 to 3 days.

Aside from the city-owned molecular laboratory, the local government also heavily invested on the put up of a 100-bed isolation unit within a portion of the city-owned property to further increase the availability of isolation beds to be able to accommodate the isolation requirements of individuals that test positive for the deadly virus.

Concerned residents commended the efforts of the city government under the leadership of Mayor Estrañero in prioritizing the put up of the important health facilities to help the city cope with the effects of the ongoing pandemic as it seems that the city is now taking over the supposed duties and responsibilities of the provincial government in providing the needs of the people of Kalinga during these difficult times. By HENT