By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY – The laboratory conducting the official diagnostic for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Western Visayas region aims to conduct 1,000 tests daily.
This after the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC), the hospital managed by the Department of Health (DOH) in Iloilo City, acquired a new machine for the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing.
“With that, we can boost our capacity for testing to 1,000 per day,” said Dr. Stephanie Abello.
WVMC’s laboratory can currently handle a daily average of 500 specimens for COVID-19 diagnostic. Since March 23, it has conducted more than 6,000 tests.
WVMC’s laboratory covers testing of COVID-19 specimens for the entire Western Visayas region, which is comprised of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental provinces, and the highly urbanized cities of Iloilo and Bacolod.
It also previously catered to Region IV-B, which was comprised of the provinces of Palawan, Romblon, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, and Oriental Mindoro.
But Abello said that health officials from Region IV-B and from Masbate province stopped sending samples to WVMC due to transportation issues. Instead, specimens for COVID-19 testing are sent to Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, WVMC’s more than 6,000 tests only covered less than 5,300 people. Abello explained that this was due to repeat tests, especially on those who tested positive for COVID-19.