Iloilo province helps boost Panay’s COVID-19 testing capacity

Published July 11, 2020, 12:01 PM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY—The Iloilo provincial government is helping boost diagnostic testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Panay Island by temporarily lending it real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine to the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC).

The laboratory for COVID-19 testing at Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC), the hospital managed by the Department of Health (DOH) in Iloilo City. (Photo courtesy of Key Love Celis / MANILA BULLETIN)
The laboratory for COVID-19 testing at Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC), the hospital managed by the Department of Health (DOH) in Iloilo City. (Photo courtesy of Key Love Celis / MANILA BULLETIN)

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said its newly acquired RT-PCR machine was going to be used by WVMC Sub-National Laboratory (SNL), a Department of Health (DOH) hospital in Iloilo City.

Defensor explained that RT-PCR machine was intended for the COVID-19 laboratory at the Iloilo Provincial Hospital in Pototan town. But the laboratory was still under construction.

“For the meantime, we will put it [the RT-PCR machine] at WVMC,” Defensor said, while adding that the provincial government’s laboratory technicians will also undergo training at WVMC.

The RT-PCR machine is expected to boost capacity of WVMC-SNL, which reported that it was having a hard time coping with the volume of COVID-19 specimens it has been receiving.

Dr. Stephanie Abello, chief pathologist of WVMC-SNL, earlier said there were around 3,000 specimens that need to be tested.

The WVMC-SNL is the only laboratory that tests COVID-19 specimens for Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, and Iloilo provinces, as well as Iloilo City.

The WVMC-SNL also previously tested COVID-19 specimens for Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, but a COVID-19 laboratory has since opened there.

Meanwhile, the DOH announced that Qualimed Hospital in Iloilo City will soon operate its own COVID-19 testing laboratory after being granted a license by the DOH.

 
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