BAGUIO CITY, Apr. 8 (PIA) - - The Department of Health- Cordillera and the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC), a sub-national laboratory testing center for COVID -19, are awaiting for additional test kits and Realtime Polymerase Chain Reaction(RT - PCR) before the mass testing begins.
BGHMC Director Dr. Ricardo Runez Jr. said there is a directive from the DOH Central Office for the hospital to increase its daily capacity as a COVID - 19 laboratory testing center.
The BGHMC which was recently certified by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine as a COVID - 19 laboratory testing center, averages around 150 tests per day. Runez said they hope to increase to 700 tests per day when the new RT - PCR machine and additional test kits arrive.
Chief Implementer of the National Task Force COVID-19 Secretary Carlito Galvez earlier announced that government would start mass testing of all Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) and Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs) by April 14 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the mass testing, DOH Cordillera OIC Regional Director Amelita Pangilinan clarified that it will be a risk - based testing where priorities are PUIs and PUMs who manifest symptoms, health workers taking care of COVID - 19 patients and other related health services, those belonging to the vulnerable population such as senior citizens and those with co - existing illnesses.
The mass testing will greatly help in the flattening of the COVID - 19 transmission curve, said Pangilinan who also affirmed the DOH-CAR's support to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend the Enhanced Community Quarantine up to April 30, 2020.
Runez said there was no new positive case in the laboratory testing for Baguio City for the past ten days but this it does not guarantee that the transmission curve is already flattening. Only when the mass testing is conducted that the true picture can be seen, he explained.
Pangilinan also informed that no new confirmed positive case was reported for the past seven days. COVID - 19 patients remain at 19 with six already recovered, 12 admitted in health facilities and one death.
Even with the good news, Pangilinan reminds the general public to remain vigilant, adhere to the rules of the enhanced community quarantine and practice infection control and prevention measures as part of their daily routine.
"Let us not lay down our guards, let us not be complacent. The infection control and prevention measures are already a way of life. Let us stay home. Let us practice infection control and prevention measures at home", Pangilinan said. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)