BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday, April 29, said that the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center has already conducted 5,335 unique individual tests, the third biggest number of tests done after the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City and the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.
However, the BGH may run out of test kits within the week.
The Philippine Red Cross, which has conducted 5,236 tests still has 70,000 test kits available for use.
“We are begging the government for more kits,” said BGH Director Dr Ricardo Runez, Jr. BGH is the main testing center for COVID-19 in Northern Luzon. (READ: Where are testing centers for coronavirus in PH?)
Among the top 10 testing centers in the Philippines, BGH has the fewest positive cases detected with 75 cases in the whole Northern Luzon.
DOH Cordillera Regional Director Dr Amelita Pangilinan said that the region has started its risk-based mass testing on Saturday, April 25.
Pangilinan said that risk-based mass testing will not only test those who manifest symptoms of COVID-19 but those who are in the frontlines.
As a result, BGH has detected 15 cases during the weekend, most of them are medical frontliners in BGH.
From only 5 positive cases in the hospital last Friday, the number of hospitalized patients in Baguio went up to 16. Benguet, which had no case as of Friday, now has 6 COVID-19 cases.
While it was a 68 percent increase in the number of positive cases before the weekend, Pangilinan said that people should not be alarmed because this was a result of the mass testing.
“We are now seeing the true picture of the COVID situation in Baguio,” Pangilinan added.
The medical frontliners found positive in Baguio and Benguet for COVID-19 since March include 4 doctors, 4 nurses, 2 nursing attendants, 2 ambulance drivers, a nutritionist-dietician, a midwife, and a hospital encoder.
The sudden increase may have affected the schedule of the enhanced community quarantine of Baguio and Benguet.
Before the weekend, easing the lockdown in Baguio and Benguet was being considered.
But with the recent surge in cases, Baguio and Benguet were among the national government’s list of high-risk areas where the lockdown has been extended to May 15.
Even with the test kit shortage, BGH vows to test more than 200 individuals in the city every day until May 15.
Runez said that the BGH has 4 reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR) machines, 2 of them donated by private entities. The hospital also has the rapid test and the Huawei artificial intelligence assisted diagnosis for COVID-19. – Rappler.com