City, Davao de Oro get boost in Covid-19 testing

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AS THE Department of Health (DOH)-Davao continues to urge provincial governments to have their respective Covid-19 testing facilities, Davao de Oro is undergoing construction for its first testing facility.

In a virtual presser with DOH-Davao Assistant Director Dr. Lenny Rivera on Wednesday, September 16, she said Davao de Oro's Covid-19 testing facility is undergoing construction.

When finished, this will be the fourth Covid-19 testing facility in the region following Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), Davao One World Diagnostic Center Inc., which are both in Davao City, and the facility in Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum, Davao del Norte.

According to Rivera, several stages must be completed before a testing facility may be deemed fully operational.

First, they need to submit a letter of intent to DOH, making sure that their inspection control measures and waste management measures are accurate.

After that, the application will be forwarded to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), which will conduct the inspection. Once passed, they will be allowed to procure and submit additional document requirements following protocols and standards.

By the fourth stage, they will be allowed to test specimens but the result will still be upon validation of RITM. When the facility has passed this stage, they will be awarded an operating permit by DOH. The length and timeline for each stage will vary and will mostly depend on the compliance capacity of the client.

"We, at DOH, are willing to provide them with technical assistance for the establishments of the testing facilities," said Rivera.

In an earlier article published by SunStar Davao, the Davao Regional Development Council also said that the establishment of testing centers per province in the region will be part of the Council's Covid-19 Resiliency and Recovery Program for Davao Region.

RDC Chairperson and Davao de Oro Governor Tyron Uy earlier said this plan is to help relieve the number of test samples being sent to SPMC and DRMC.

Meanwhile, a laboratory donated by Unilab to the Davao City Government is set to start conducting reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests next week after an inspection was made on Tuesday, September 16.

Davao City Health Officer (CHO) Dr. Josephine Villafuerte said the RT-PCR machine, which can examine 92 specimens per run, is already complete and eight medical technologists have been deployed on Tuesday for on-site training.

The testing laboratory was inspected on Tuesday, September 15, by Villafuerte, SPMC officer-in-charge Dr. Ricardo Audan, City Tourism officer-in-charge Regina Rosa Tecson, City Engineer's Office officer-in-charge Joseph Dominic Felizarta, and some medical technologists from SPMC.

"Gi turnover na ang equipment ug katong building gahapon, so gipa check na sa amoa, naa na man ang equipment tanan (The equipment and building were already handed over to us, so we were asked to check them. All the equipment is ready). It would examine about 92 specimens per run," Villafuerte said.

Air travel passengers coming into Davao City will be prioritized to be tested in the donated testing laboratory. Testing of all arriving passengers is free of charge.

Davao Doctor's Hospital is also expected to conduct Covid-19 test soon after it has submitted the forms for accreditation of its own testing centers to DOH and is waiting for the result.

Another government-owned testing center, the Los Amigos Health Center, is still under construction. (With CIO)


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