With COVID-19 infected staff, damaged testing machines, RITM scales down ops
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s prime coronavirus testing center in Muntinlupa City has scaled down its operations again due to COVID-19 infection of its personnel and damaged testing machines.
According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, health officials have been monitoring the situation at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) following an increase in the country’s testing backlogs.
“Unang-una nagkaroon ulit ng mga nag-quarantine na mga tao ang RITM dahil nagkaroon na naman ng positive case sa kanila,” Vergeire told reporters in an online forum Wednesday morning.
“So they have to do contract tracing and some of the employees na kasama natin gumagawa sa lab nag-quarantine sila,” she added
However, the Health official did not reveal how many RITM employees have contracted the respiratory disease.
RITM scaled down operations in April after around 40 of its personnel tested positive for COVID-19.
Vergeire added that some of the RITM machines were also damaged and cannot be used in the meantime.
Because of this, health officials implemented the “zoning” system where they refer specimens to other testing laboratories such as the Philippine Red Cross to reduce the RITM’s backlog.
Although RITM has limited its operations, Vergeire said it will still process in-patients specimens.
“Kapag nagscale hindi ibig sabihin totally wala silang gagawin. Nag-announce po sila na tatanggap pa rin sila for in-patients ibig sabihin yung mga pasyenteng nakaconfine sa iba’t ibang hospitals ng LGUs natin tatanggapin pa rin nila,” she said.
She also noted that there has been an increase in the submission of specimens due to the government’s expanded testing protocols which resulted in the increase of the country’s overall testing backlogs.
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