Surigao solon highlights high-tech lab for COVID tests

Published January 13, 2021, 7:38 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Surigao del Norte now has a state-of-the-art biomolecular laboratory (BM lab) that local authorities can use in their battle to control the spread of COVID-19.

Surigao del Norte 1st district Rep. Bingo Matugas

A statement from the office of Surigao del Norte 1st district Rep. Bingo Matugas late Wednesday afternoon bared that the BM lab was inaugurated in his province earlier that day.

“The Surigao BM laboratory is capable of testing 2,000 (swab test) samples per day where registration to results/certificate receiving is done online,” Matugas’ statement read.

The congressman and his father, Surigao del Norte Governor Lalo Matugas had requested the Philippine Red Cross for the delivery of the fully-automated BM lab, which utilizes one ribonucleic acid extractor machine and two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines.

“The cooperation between the Surigao del Norte provincial government and the country’s premier humanitarian organization was able to raise some P18 million worth of donations from several mining companies namely, Taganito Mining Corporation, Cagdianao Mining Corporation, and Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation. The said amount was used to procure state-of-the-art laboratory equipment,” it was learned.

The Red Cross chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon shouldered the cost of development of the structure.

Consumables for the test kits such as reagents, swab kits, personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, gloves, expenses for utilities, electricity, water, internet, manpower (salaries of med techs, pathologists, janitorial staff, admin staff, drivers, swabbers, etc.) and other operating expenses will be shouldered by the Red Cross. These are all covered by the cost of the swab test.

The Red Cross will release the swab test results within 24 to 48 hours directly to the registered email addresses of the patients.

As of January 10, 2021, there are more or less 5,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the entire Caraga Region, with nearly 200 death recorded.