Central Luzon regional hospital eyes churning out 4,000 COVID-19 tests per day

Published June 2, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Donna Rempillo

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Molecular and Diagnostic Pathology Laboratory at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital (JBLMRH) here will be able to improve its maximum testing capacity to 4,000 tests per day once operations are scaled up to 24 hours.

This was disclosed by JBLMRH Medical Chief, Dr. Monserrat Chichioco who attributed an additional 1,000 testing capacity to the nucleic acid extractor and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine that were recently lent by the provincial government of Pampanga.

“At present, we are running two shifts (that can handle) 1,500 test throughput per day. The additional nucleic acid extractor and PCR lent by Pampanga province will add 1,000 test, hence, 4,000 tests can be achieved once we scale up to 24 hours operation” Chichioco said.

Moreover, the regional hospital has also gained support from the national government with the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) turning over two portable swab test booths, which were manufactured by the Bureau of Equipment.

“The DPWH donated two swab test booths, which are connected with each other as one unit. It is located outside the isolation emergency room to be used for COVID-19 suspect or probable cases,” Chichioco explained.

JBLMRH, which houses the molecular diagnostic pathology laboratory dubbed the Pandemic Sub-National Reference Laboratory, also manages 158 COVID-19 isolation wards for moderate to severe cases, and an intensive care unit (ICU) for critical COVID-19 cases.

“We are hiring volunteers contract of service professionals to augment our current workforce.” the medical chief said.

As of June 1, the total number of admitted positive cases at JBLMRH was at 117 cases, with 107 already recovered and discharged, and five who have died. Only five COVID-19 patients are still admitted in the hospital.

“Highest admission in the hospital were still non-COVID cases. Top 5 cases are pneumonia, chronic kidney disease, acute appendicitis, bacterial sepsis of newborn and COVID-19 (combination of suspect, probable and confirmed)” Chichioco disclosed.