PUIs can get results at SPMC in 24hrs

In this Wednesday, March 11, 2020 file photo, a technician prepares Covid-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York's Long Island. (AP)

THE Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) is now able to release the results of patients under investigation (PUIs) within 24 hours after it has been given a certification by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to independently conduct a coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing.

This was confirmed by SPMC chief of clinics and Health Emergency and Management Bureau (HEMB) coordinator Dr. Ricardo Audan yesterday. He added that unlike in the previous, they no longer have to send the swab samples of PUIs to RITM in Muntinlupa City.

"We are no longer dependent on RITM and we can release the results within 24 hours," Audan said.

SPMC is the only hospital identified as a sub-national laboratory to test swab samples on patients under investigation in the whole Mindanao.

The SPMC Molecular Laboratory can perform independent testing for Covid-19 by using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing procedure.

“This is important in the sense that we do not need to send PUI samples because if we do that again it would take four-five days minimum to get the results and you know RITM is catering to the whole country,” Audan said.

SPMC initially received around 200 testing kits from the Department of Health (DOH).

Earlier last week, they sent a total of 65 samples to RITM for revalidation and to check if the result of their testing matches with the result at the RITM.

On March 27, SPMC has been certified to conduct and release result on their level.

Based on the Covid-19 update as of 8 p.m. on March 28, DOH-Davao reported a total of 30 Covid-19 positive cases. Of the figure, 20 are currently admitted at SPMC, two at Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC); while four have recovered from the disease, and other four succumbed to the disease.

Audan said that SPMC, being identified as Covid-19 center, has been overwhelmed with the number of patients that it exceeded their room capacity.

He is just thankful for the government for their support on finding other facilities to house PUIs as to minimize the risk of contamination.

“With the limited numbers of ICUs, isolations we can easily discharge patients that are negative and accommodate waiting patients who are Covid suspects,” Audan said.

Apart from SPMC, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Visayas were also certified to process the PUIs’ samples.

Other Molecular Laboratory Facilities is the University of the Philippines – National Institute of Health Molecular Laboratory.

These sub-national laborites are mandated to continue to participate in the Proficiency Testing Program of the RITM, follow the Operational Guidelines for Subnational Laboratories, and abide by the highest laboratory quality guidelines.


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