2 more hospitals in CV eyed to do COVID-19 tests

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital | April 02,2020 - 10:22 AM
Scientists from the national government are eyeing two more hospitals in Central Visayas to conduct coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests. | Inquirer.net file photo

DOH | INQUIRER.net file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Scientists from the national government are eyeing two more hospitals in Central Visayas to conduct coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests.

Based on the recent COVID-19 Laboratories Capacity monitoring from the Department of Health (DOH) on April 1, 2020, state-ran hospitals in the cities of Dumaguete and Tagbilaran are being considered to do COVID-19 testings.

These are Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Medical Center in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, and Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital in Negros Oriental.

There are now seven hospitals nationwide whose laboratories are accredited to carry out COVID-19 tests, including the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City.

Accreditation is divided into five stages, with Stage 5 marking the full-scale implementation of the testings.

Stage 1 involves self-assessment using the tools provided by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM), the state-owned laboratory based in Muntinlupa City that gives certification for laboratories, both public and private, to do COVID-19 tests.

Some of the factors weighed during Stage 1 are access to the laboratory, design of the laboratory, use of laboratory safety equipment, administrative control and management, records and documentation, and personnel practices and training.

On-site visits by the experts from DOH, RITM, and World Health Organization (WHO) is in Stage 2, wherein they will validate the self-assessment made in the previous phase.

“The team will inform the laboratory of its deficiencies, and the laboratory will have to comply with recommendations before proceeding to the next stage,” DOH said.

A dedicated three-day training for all personnel tasked to maintain and run the laboratory is the highlight of Stage 3.

Hospitals and laboratories can start accepting COVID-19 samples for testing if DOH classifies them under Stage 4.

“However, (in Stage 4), the laboratory will first need to test five positive samples as confirmed by RITM before proceeding to full-scale implementation,” DOH added.

As of April 1, 2020, Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Medical Center is classified under Stage 2 while Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital is under Stage 1.


Presently, VSMMC is the only sub-national level laboratory qualified to conduct COVID-19 tests for the entire Visayas region.

This means COVID-19 samples from Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas regions are delivered here for testing.

But as of April 1, 2020, the government is also looking at three more hospitals in the Visayas region to conduct COVID-19 testings. These are Western Visayas Medical Center and Western Visayas State University Medical Center in Iloilo City. The former is now at Stage 4 while the latter is at Stage 1.

DOH is also considering Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban City, which is now at Stage 2 of the accreditation process. /bmjo

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