DOH fast-tracks COVID-19 tests

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BY CARLA P. GOMEZ

The Department of Health has adopted measures to fast track the processing of COVID-19 Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test results in Western Visayas, DOH 6 regional director, Dr. Marlyn Convocar, said in an advisory.

The Western Visayas Medical Center Sub-National Laboratory (WVMC-SNL) will focus on processing previously received specimens, she said.

All specimens received from July 14 to 17 by the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the DOH shall be re-routed to the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital-Molecular Laboratory in Bacolod City for RT-PCR testing, she said.

The Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital-Molecular Laboratory (TLJPH) in Silay City will prioritize processing specimens from the province of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, Convocar added.

COVID-19 RT-PCR confirmatory testing for all Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) shall be performed at Qualimed Molecular Laboratory in Iloilo City as per a Memorandum of Agreement with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, she said.

The WVMC-SNL is expecting the arrival of an automated RNA extraction machine from DOH that will considerably reduce the processing time for COVID-19 RT-PCR testing in the SNL, she said.

The DOH Western Visayas Center for Health Development will continuously coordinate with the sub-national laboratories in Region 6 and to ensure that demand for testing is matched with the existing and upcoming capacities so that COVID-19 testing laboratories are maximized, she added.

All local government units, private health facilities and related stakeholders, are reminded to continuously adhere to the expanded risk-based testing for COVID-19 to cover all individuals who are at risk of contracting the disease, Convocar said.

Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said the TLJPH Molecular Laboratory is capable of handling Convocar’s new assignment.

More supplies arrived yesterday, donated by the DOH, and purchased by the provincial government, he said.
Diaz also said more than 1,000 negative RT-PCR test results have been released by the TLJPH laboratory as of yesterday, which has caught up with its backlog.*

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