By Liezle Basa Inigo
TUGUEGARAO,Cagayan – The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing laboratory of the Department of Health (DOH) in Region 2 could start operation by the end of May after it was granted a license to operate by the DOH Central Office.
DOH 2 Officer-in-Charge Assistant Regional Director Dr. Leticia Cabrera said the facility was granted the license after it passed the assessment and evaluation conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the DOH Central Office.
The testing laboratory, which is being supported by a GeneXpert machine with a new cartridge, can test 36 specimens in eight hours.
Cabrera said the facility will undergo calibration as a safety precaution for a week that will be undertaken by a group of engineers from the Philippine Business of Social Progress (PBSP), a business partner of DOH.
“Inaayos na natin ang araw ng kanilang pagpunta dito upang makatiyak tayo na sila ay hindi carrier ng virus dahil sa sila ay galing sa lugar na apektado ng COVID-19”, Cabrera said as she assured that before the end of May they can start testing at the facility.
According to the Cagayan Information Office, DOH Region 2 was also asking for two additional machines to facilitate faster testing in order not to keep the patients waiting for days.
Cabrera said she was optimistic that, in the next few days, the other proposed laboratories like those at the Cagayan Valley Medical Center (CVMC) and Southern Isabela Medical Center (SIMC) will also be granted licenses.
She noted that, with Region 2 having its own testing laboratory, specimens need not be brought to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) for testing.
CVMC is now under stage 3 of the accreditation process, and is now in the process of acquiring a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine worth P2.8 million, which will be sourced from its fund.
CVMC Chief Dr. Glenn Baggao disclosed that CVMC already passed the assessment and validation as a possible testing center, and will be sending five of its medical technologists for training for the last stage and actual operation of the testing center.