THE first testing center for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Eastern Visayas is set to run 700 swab tests after its scheduled initial screening of 90 swab samples on Monday, May 11.
House Majority Leader and Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez and Tingog partylist Representative Yedda Marie Romualdez, who were instrumental in opening the testing center, said they were impressed by the medical personnel’s projection to increase the screening center’s daily testing capacity to 700 swab samples soon.
“We wish the best of luck and we are praying hard for the safety and good health of everyone as our medical team embarks on a very crucial mission of strengthening our Covid-19 fight,” said the Romualdez couple following the blessing of the molecular laboratory set up at the old Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) in Tacloban City.
The Department of Health-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM) accredited the Covid-19 testing center on May 8.
“With the Eastern Visayas Regional Covid-19 testing center, we have significantly increased our capability to address Covid-19. Mass testing of suspected cases will now be a more doable strategy,” they said.
“With the right and accurate baseline information, we are now more capable of preventing the further spread of Covid-19 and of carrying out a more calibrated and responsive public health care strategy for the region,” added the Romualdez couple in a statement.
Dr. Minerva Molon, DOH-Eastern Visayas regional director, also hoped that more testing kits will be made available so that the continued operation of the testing center is assured.
“By Monday we will be receiving the first set of sample,” said Molon in a press conference on May 9.
“Finally, after 41 days, our laboratory has now been granted a full-scale implementation. We can now run tests and release results independently, instead of sending them to Cebu City,” she added.
Carlo Chris Serrano Apurillo of the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists, Inc. (PAMET) Leyte-Biliran Chapter and Philippine Science High School Eastern Visayas campus also expressed confidence of the laboratory's testing capacity.
“For now, we have one running Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), ang isang shift po namin ay kayang mag-process ng around 90 samples so when we start, ang aming target on Monday kaya namin ang maximum na 90 samples.
“But after that, we can increase it to 200 or 300 samples in three shifts at mayroon pa kaming isa pang RT-PCR na darating. This will double the capacity of the laboratory at mayroon din kaming inaasahan na isa pang machine that can still double the capacity at kung maraming testing kits, kaya namin ang 700 in one day,” added Apurillo.
Meanwhile, Philip Jude Acidre, chief political affairs of Tingog partylist, said they were assured of the testing center after the Romualdez couple "committed to shoulder the purchase of the RT-PCR machine and renovation of the laboratory for the benefit of the Filipino people, especially in Eastern Visayas.”
As of Sunday, May 10, Eastern Visayas has 19 confirmed cases of Covid-19. (SunStar Philippines)