IATF wants CV’s testing capacity increased to address ‘gap’ among provinces

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | May 10,2020 - 09:28 AM

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The national government wanted Central Visayas to produce around 3,500 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test results per day.

Vivencio “Vince” Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), announced this in a virtual press conference on Saturday, May 9, 2020.

“What we’re aiming is to further increase its testing capacity. And we’re doing everything so we can test around 3,000 to 3,500 samples per day,” Dizon told the media in Cebu.

Dizon, who is also the president of the Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and tagged as the ‘coronavirus testing Czar’ in the Philippines, said ramping up the testing capacities of laboratories in Cebu could help ‘address the gap’ on the number of samples from Cebu and other provinces in Central Visayas that are being tested in existing subnational laboratories here.

He added that the Philippine Red Cross, through Senator Richard Gordon, has also pledged to build a COVID-19 laboratory to augment the existing subnational laboratories that are located in Cebu.

“The Red Cross laboratory in Cebu could do around 2,000 tests per day,” said Dizon.

Presently, Cebu has two laboratories qualified to carry out COVID-19 tests. These are found in Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), the largest outside Luzon, and the Cebu Tb Reference Laboratory Molecular Facility (CTRL-MFCT) in the compound of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH – 7).

The SNL in VSMMC began operations last March 19 while CTRL – MFCT on May 8, 2020. Combined, the laboratories can examine up to 1,000 samples per day.

Gap in Sample Testing

Data from DOH – 7 revealed that as of May 3, 2020, Central Visayas has examined a total of 8,564 samples from individuals suspected and confirmed to have COVID-19.

The figures include those earlier sent to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City in Metro Manila and the repeat tests of previously confirmed COVID-19 patients.

Around 5,822 out of the 8,564 test samples or 68 percent of the specimens are from Cebu City residents.  Another 11 percent or 971 samples were from Mandaue City, which has 110 COVID-19 cases,.

Cebu province, which has 44 local government units, has submitted 590 specimens for testing as of May 3 while 541 came from Lapu-Lapu City.

The provinces of Negros Oriental, Bohol, and Siquijor submitted 382, 193 samples. Of this, 65 samples were examined for COVID-19 infection. Bohol and Negros Oriental have not recorded any new cases of the infection since March 29.

Siquijor remains the only island-province in Central Visayas with no documented case of COVID-19. / dcb

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