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Eastern Visayas now has own Covid-19 testing lab

TACLOBAN CITY (PNA) – The Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) molecular laboratory here can now perform coronavirus testing, the Department of Health (DOH) announced on Saturday, May 9.

“Finally, after 41 days, our laboratory has now been granted a full-scale implementation. We can now run tests and release results independently, instead of sending them to Cebu City,” said Minerva Molon, DOH Eastern Visayas director, in a virtual press conference.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila issued the official certification on Friday, May 8, after the laboratory passed the final stage of the accreditation process, the proficiency testing, conducted this week, Molon said.

The laboratory will start running tests once it receives the license to operate on Monday, May 11.

The DOH said nine medical technologists and a pathologist will run the testing facility at the old building of the EVRMC in Magsaysay Boulevard.

The group attended a three-day Molecular Analyst Proficiency training at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City this week.

Using the real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction Machine, the facility can run at least 90 tests per running time, said Carlos Chris Apurillo, Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET) Leyte-Biliran chapter representative.

“But we can run up to 700 tests per day once the additional equipment and machines have been put in place,” he added.

Apurillo said the laboratory is compliant with the requirements set by the RITM, the DOH central office, and the World Health Organization.

“We’ve gone through a lot of challenges to comply with the requirements and quality assurance procedures. We assure that we practice the highest biosafety level in our laboratory,” he added.

The DOH thanked all the organizations that offered technical assistance for the establishment of the regional testing center.

They are the EVRMC, PAMET, the Philippine Science High School, St. Scholastica’s College, the An Waray, and Tingog party lists, among others. Since the spread of Covid-19 in the country, a total of 19 cases have been confirmed in the region, two of whom have fully-recovered with zero death. 

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