Bohol’s RT-PCR containerized lab goes on “trial run” for proficiency testing



TAGBILARAN CITY – The containerized RT-PCR laboratory of the Province of Bohol underwent its proficiency testing Friday August 21 as a mandatory requirement and crucial to the issuance of its license to operate.

According to Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez, spokesperson of the Bohol provincial COVID-19 Technical Working Group (TWG) that the “trial run” used the testing kits and swab samples provided by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) of the Department of Health (DOH) itself.

Lopez said that these samples from the RITM were processed at the laboratory and the results are submitted to the national RITM for analyses if the samples “were correctly tested.”

He added that if the samples were 100 percent correct, then the province gets the license to operate the containerized laboratory.  “Passing the proficiency test is a measure of how skilled and capable our medical technologists are,” Lopez said.

The containerized RT-PCR laboratory can process between 350 and 500 swab samples a day and results known in 24 hours.  The RT-PCR machine can process an average of 100 samples in every eight-hour shift for the start of the laboratory operation, Lopez bared.

Lopez said the facility has nine medical technologists who work in shifts, one doctor who is a pathologist, two encoders, and one utility personnel.   Results can be released in 24 hours–or an extended waiting time of 48 hours depending on the volume of samples being processed, he added.

Bohol governor Arthur Yap in alive broadcast at the Capitol Friday said that he anticipated for the testing facility to be operational in a week or so after getting authority from the DOH-RITM.

The containerized lab is set up within the Bohol Medical Care Institute (BMCI) that will complement the molecular laboratory for COVID-19 testing at the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH).

“The GCGMH and the province’s laboratories are considered a milestone in Bohol’s healthcare system,” Yap said.

Lopez went on that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) approved an ordinance that sets the rates of the containerized laboratory test for Philhealth members at P3,409; paying patients/clients at P4,500; and “in case when testing kit is donated the client pays P2,077 only.   Foreign nationals who are not Philhealth members and availing of RT-PCR test shall be categorized as paying patients.

According to governor Yap that with the twin laboratories in operation he wants contact tracing to go more aggressively without waiting for subject persons to be positive before testing is done.

“With these labs we are now more capacitated, and we can open our economy even just within the island first under the new normal.  The local economy should circulate now, and Bohol has to gradually open to domestic and then international economic activities,” Yap said. (Photo: PRIMER/Ven Arigo)