RITM engineers arrive in Bicol to assess, fix COVID-19 test lab facility
LEGAZPI CITY –– Engineers from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) arrived in Legazpi City Wednesday evening to assess and fix a piece of equipment in Bicol’s lone coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing laboratory.
Dr. Ernie Vera, Department of Health Bicol director, said this during an interview with the Philippine Information Agency on Thursday morning.
Last Friday, May 15, Typhoon “Ambo” (international name: Vongfong) damaged the exhaust duct of the biological safety cabinet (BSC) at the Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory (BRDRL).
Since then, COVID-19 testing in Bicol has been halted, forcing the region to send the samples from suspected cases to RITM.
“The exhaust duct is on the roof of the laboratory, and it has been there for three years,” Vera said. “The exhaust duct keeps the negative pressure in the BSC to avoid infection among medical technologists and laboratory workers at the BRDRL.”
He said the exhaust duct filters the air from the laboratory so that it may not cause pollution.
“COVID-19 testing is not a simple process,” he said. “We are dealing with a live virus. The strict standards that we are imposing are there, not to be a hindrance to our laboratories, but to ensure that the community, where the laboratory is located, and the people, who are processing the tests, are safe.”
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