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RITM limits lab operations due to COVID-infected staff, lack of supply

Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) | FILE PHOTO

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the country’s prime laboratory for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests, will temporarily downscale its laboratory operations due to infected personnel, supply shortage, and other logistical constraints.

In a statement on Wednesday, RITM Director Celia Carlos said they will limit their laboratory operations until Saturday, July 18.

“Please bear with us for the next few days as we conduct full servicing of equipment, decontamination of facilities, and the urgent testing of our staff,” Carlos said in a statement.

“These measures are being done to ensure that we are fully armed and healthy to continue performing our tests safely and accurately. It is an uphill climb responding to this public health emergency, but please trust that our commitment to serve does not waver,” she added.

The decision stemmed after 31 of its staff have tested positive for the infectious COVID-19. 10 still suffer from the virus’ symptoms while the others are ‘in their recovery state,’ and awaiting their repeat tests.

“We wanted to consistently deliver our best despite the mounting challenges, but it was at the expense of our weakening manpower,” Carlos said.

“If our machines can give for long periods of 24/7 high throughout testing, our people can be worn down as well. This scale down also provides us the opportunity to take care of our own,” she added.

In a separate statement, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said some of the RITM employees have to undergo quarantine after being in contact with those infected.

Last April, RITM first limited its operations after at least 43 of its staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

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