DOH approves Davao City COVID-19 testing lab

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The Department of Health approved a laboratory in Davao City to run the COVID-19 testing in the Mindanao region, Monday.

Mayor Sara Duterte confirmed on Saturday that Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) certified the molecular diagnostic laboratory at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) to DOH’s subnational laboratory.

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SPMC chief Dr. Leopoldo Vega said the laboratory underwent an extensive process of quality testing to qualify. It required the hospital to test sets of samples and send the same specimen to RITM. The results were checked for compatibility. Competent medical technologists should also operate the testing center.

“These are not ordinary medical technologists because they are trained in molecular biology. They have been trained even before COVID-19. Now they have to retrain themselves and be familiar with the properties of COVID-19,” Vega said.

DOH approves Davao City COVID-19 testing lab

The laboratory chief said the facility could run a batch of 30 patients within eight hours with two batches every day. Once the SPMC gets fully operational, it could process 60 specimens every day, which lessens the waiting time compared to RITM.

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Vega said the laboratory was capable of running a batch of 30 patients within eight hours with two batches every day. If fully operational with sufficient test kits, the SPMC would be able to test 60 specimens daily, which would lessen the waiting time compared to that of tests being done at the RITM.

As of this writing, around 25 PUIs (persons under investigation) in Mindanao passed away while waiting for their COVID-19 test results from RITM. The waiting time has an average of 10 days. Two of the 25 later tested positive of the virus.

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