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Benguet, Philippines turns over COVID-19 testing machines to BGHMC

The Benguet provincial government turned-over two machines that would facilitate the testing of specimens for COVID-19 to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Centre (BGHMC).

The Governor Melchor Diclas turned over the two machines, an automated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and automated ribonucleic acid (RNA) extractor to BGHMC that were donated by Benguet Provincial Caretaker, Eric Yap, to facilitate testing and accommodate more specimens.

According to a press release, Yap came to the province to personally hand over said machines to the provincial government thru the Governor and Dr Meliarazon Dulay, the Officer-in-Charge Chief of the general hospital.

While the provincial government is not yet capable to use the machines, the provincial leadership decided to have these temporarily used by BGHMC.

The machines would be a big help to BGHMC, which can currently only manually extract RNA. The automated RNA extractor could process about 1,000 specimen per day.

During the turn-over to BGHMC, the Governor and the BGHMC, represented by its Medical Centre Chief II, Dr Ricardo B. Runez, Jr., signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the partnership.

The MOA is renewable every six months until the province is capable to set-up its own laboratory, the Governor added. As agreed, specimens from Benguet will be prioritised.

Earlier this month, a town in Benguet established its own quarantine facility for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The President of the League of Municipal Mayors in Benguet said that the local government of Itogon prepared quarantine facilities to accommodate returning OFWs who are residents of the town.

Palangdan said the quarantine sites are former evacuation centres in Ucab and Ayosip in Poblacion, Itogon.

With the offices of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Social Welfare and Development and Health in the town, beds and tents were set up.

According to media reports, in Benguet’s capital town of La Trinidad, a quarantine facility is located at Bektey, Puguis intended for locals.

The Governor said that a quarantine area for OFWs is set in Teachers Camp to complete their 14-day quarantine before they go back to their respective towns.

The facility at Teachers Camp has been opened by the City Government of Baguio intended for returning OFWs and residents of Benguet, Baguio City and Mt. Province.

Other offsite quarantine facilities in Benguet were targeted in a Benguet State University lot with documents being prepared for its official operations while another quarantine facility in Wangal, La Trinidad is being set to declog hospitals in the province. It has a 20-bedroom capacity.

Another city in the province plans to put up 100 COVID-19 testing laboratories, in addition to the 39 it already has, to speed up testing, the chief of the national task force against COVID-19 said.

When the epidemic, the city only had the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and three other COVID-19 testing laboratories.

The government will have to put up 61 more laboratories to ramp up capacity and meet its target of 30,000 polymerase chain reaction tests per day by the end of May.

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