BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
The opening of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Molecular Laboratory in Bacolod City will be truly instrumental in the efforts to subdue and suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said yesterday.
Lacson and Bacolod City Administrator Em Ang joined PRC officials at the blessing and inauguration of the laboratory located at the PRC Chapter Office at 10th Street behind Saint John’s Institute.
PRC governor Jay Jalandoni said their laboratory will conduct 1,400 Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests for COVID-19 a day.
They will test their own staff today and be open for public testing tomorrow or Friday, he added.
Lacson said the increasing number of COVID-19 positive patients both in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City calls for extensive and thorough contact tracing, and this will involve massive testing.
The more molecular laboratories we have in the province, the more we will be capable of identifying in a timely manner those who are infected, the necessary protocols can be imposed without further delay, he added.
Ang said the PRC molecular laboratory is the fourth in Bacolod and the fifth in Negros Occidental. “This new development will substantially increase the testing capacity of our city and province,” she said.
Jalandoni said an RT-PCR test at their laboratory will cost P4,000 for private individuals and P3,500 for local government units upon signing of memorandums of agreement.
For private “house calls”, there will be a P5,000 deployment charge good for every 20 swabs, he said.
The PRC laboratory can process 1,400 swabs a day depending on when they arrive in the laboratory and RT-PCR results can be released in 24 to 48 hours, Jalandoni said.
However, Department of Health policy dictates that the DOH releases the results, he added.
Other PRC officials present at the blessing were Governor Jorge Lim and Bacolod chapter chairman Carlos Ganihong and members of the board Ryan Gamboa, Joel Chua, Arthur Yap, Ed Go Carlitos Orola and Ang.
The molecular laboratories being built around the country are the initiatives of Senator Richard Gordon, PRC national president, Jalandoni said.*