By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
The Marikina City coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Testing Center is now “up and running.”
“Ang Marikina COVID-19 Testing Center ay up and running na sa ngayon,” Mayor Marcelino Teodoro told reporters on Friday.
Teodoro said the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines, biosafety cabinet, robotic extraction machines were already installed and “fully calibrated.”
The facility, a two-storey building located in Barangay Concepcion Uno, can process 400 to 500 COVID-19 tests daily, he explained.
According to Teodoro, Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has earlier backed Marikina’s testing facility.
The IATF-EID, the task force organized by the Executive Department for the COVID-19 response, has ordered the Department of Health (DOH) to expedite the accreditation of the laboratory.
“This will be a part of a network of testing centers to do mass testing as prescribed by the directive of President Duterte,” he said, noting that “early detection and early testing means early treatment to save lives and effectively avoid transmission of the virus.”
Medical technologists and laboratory technicians are undergoing a series of required training activities that will make them fit to operate the facility.
“These are the biosafety and security training and the proficiency training. The biosafety and security training has two levels—the one is an online training, while the other one is an actual or practicum. We expect that they will finish with their training this Saturday,” Teodoro explained.
“The other one is the proficiency training. This will determine the skills level and capacity of our lab technicians and the functionality of our testing laboratory,” he added.
According to Teodoro, the said trainings were supposed to be scheduled next week. But because of the intervention of the IATF-EID, with the help of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, they were scheduled at an earlier date.
“We are not hastening the protocol. We are not skipping the standards required from us. We are not disregarding the requirements needed especially the biosafety and security,” he said.
“What we are expediting is the schedule of the trainings to be conducted now, this is what we want to be clarified,” he added.
Teodoro assured that the local government is taking all necessary steps to comply with the protocols and standards set by the Health department.
“Paramount importance for Marikina to ensure that the operation or the testing center is safe, safe for its staff and for the community around the testing center,” he stressed.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III inspected the facility Friday, April 17.