DOH assures machine can still work: Lab lacks reagents
CEBU, Philippines — Can Cebu expect another delay in the release of COVID-19 test results?
The Freeman learned from a source that the Department of Health-7 Cebu TB Reference Laboratory Molecular Facility for COVID-19 testing is facing a challenge with its supply of reagents, an important chemical required for testing.
The DOH-7 lab is only one of two government facilities certified by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) here.
The second round of enhanced community quarantine in Cebu City has reportedly made shipment orders more difficult.
In an interview with The Freeman last night, DOH-7 Director Jaime Bernadas said they have not run out of reagents.
“Dili man gyud hurot; ang processor lang nato, kit niya. Makatrabaho gihapon but dili as fast,” Bernadas said.
(It did not actually run out, only that it is affecting the processor’s kit. It can still work but not as fast.)
“Tanang maabot sa amoa, ma-test… Pero karon, ang atong gi-test abot og mga 500 to 600 from the community and different hospitals here,” he added.
(Everything that reaches us will get tested… right now, we’re testing up to 500 to 600 from the community and different hospitals here.)
Among the interrupting problems in the delay of results Bernadas disclosed earlier included availability of reagents, processor machines, extraction kits, and extraction machines.
It was also learned earlier that DOH-7 had problems with the supply of pipettes, a laboratory tool that transfers liquid from one container to another.
It did not help that, at that time, both the National Capital Region and Cebu City were placed on ECQ, which delayed the delivery from the supplier.
In the first week of June when Cebu City was eventually placed under general community quarantine, the number of COVID-19 cases spiked, which was attributed to the delay in the release of the results.
But Bernadas said yesterday that there are no more backlogs.
“Wala na tay backlog. No more backlog sa laboratory. Two weeks ago, though, there were still backlogs, but have now been addressed accordingly,” he said.
(We don’t have backlogs at the laboratory anymore. We had two weeks ago but this has been addressed accordingly.)
The DOH lab was given its license to operate in the early part of May initially with two machines, testing communities and hospitals. Another one has been added purposely to speed up testing.
The good news is that the DOH-7 laboratory has enough manpower, unlike other testing facilities in the country.
The Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, meanwhile, still has enough reagents, but the hospital has some pending samples of 230 as of its June 20 data posted yesterday. JMO (FREEMAN)