February 6, 2023

Baguio City has no more backlogs in reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

Dr. Ricardo Ruñez, Jr., medical officer of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center which houses the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) sub-national testing laboratory, reported to Baguio City Inter-Agency Task Force Chair, Mayor Benjamin Magalong, that in record time of less than a week, they had cleared a total of 2,600 test pileup covering regions 1 and 2 and the Cordillera, including Baguio City.

Magalong commended the team for their hard work while also citing the various hospitals’ excellent management of the patients resulting in a high recovery rate.

Of the city’s 31 confirmed cases, there were 29 recoveries, one fatality, and one active case remaining.

The mayor said the remaining patient is the police officer from Camp Crame who was diagnosed on May 12. 

The mayor appealed for the public to be more understanding to the police officer who he said went home to avail of his vacation leave but who apparently contracted the disease from his place of work.  He is now on the road to recovery, the mayor said.

The mayor said with the city’s zero backlog status with the continued testing, he is now hopeful that the true Covid situation in the city can be established.

The mayor earlier rued the city’s limited testing capability that he said hampered its efforts towards flattening the curve.

His sentiments were heard by Covid-19 national policy chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. and Senator Bong Go, who promised to help the city enhance its testing capacity.

He said Galvez is scheduled to come to the city on May 21 to work out the requirements which is expected to include an automated extraction machine; 30,000 test kits and consumables; and personal protective equipment.

The mayor said the engagement with Galvez will not only cover the city but the other provinces and city in the region as well for a unified action against the disease.

During the Ugnayan press briefing on May 13, Ruñez said after a lull in testing last weekend, they went full blast in processing 600 to 700 tests a day enabling them to wipe out the backlog in less than a week.

He said the test kits were new and required further study by their laboratory personnel.

They also took advantage of the break to allow their medical technologists to rest before working full-time again.

Ruñez also announced that the four PCR machines stationed at the facility are now fully operational.

He said they still have 5,000 test kits remaining for the three regions.

He expressed hopes that Region 2 could finally establish its own testing laboratory soon to decongest BGHMC’s testing load. – Aileen P. Refuerzo