Molecular lab in Cagayan closed for disinfection

TUGUEGARAO CITY: The Cagayan Valley Medical Center (CVMC) molecular laboratory in Carig Sur here was closed down on Friday for disinfection as 16 workers were infected with the Covid-19 virus.

Dr. Glenn Mathew Baggao, CVMC hospital chief, said that the temporary closure was done to ensure that the 16 health care workers in the facility, who have been placed under quarantine, will be safe as disinfection has been done.

Uninfected workers would resume swabbing operations and collection of samples on Saturday, he added. The facility has 60 assigned health care workers.

Due to the one-day closure, Baggao asked specimen referrals to their laboratory to bring samples to other molecular laboratories such as the Department of Health laboratory in the region.

In August last year, the facility was formally opened to step up the fight against Covid-19 with an average of 300 to 400 specimens tested daily.

The hospital laboratory has two reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines, which were then seen to augment the testing capacity and early diagnosis and improve chances of recovery of Covid patients from the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan, and other areas in the region and nearby provinces like Apayao and Kalinga.

Fifty-nine medical workers at the CVMC have tested positive for the virus but the majority are asymptomatic.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Statistics Authority regional office in Carig Sur was also closed down on Friday as eight out of nine employees have also tested positive for Covid-19, Regional Director Marilyn Estrada said.

The regional office, which has been housed in its new building at the government center, would reopen on Monday after the disinfection was held on Friday.

Cagayan has 2,120 active cases with 443 new cases registered on Thursday, the provincial health office said on Friday.

Tuguegarao City was highest with 236 new cases, hiking its active cases to 1,158. Thirty new cases were listed in Solana, 28 in Peñablanca, 26 in Enrile, 17 in Alcala, 13 each in Baggao and Piat, and 10 each in Ballesteros and Lal-lo towns.