Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Friday that laboratories should run a 24-hour shift for testing COVID-19, which already infected two million people across the globe.
The health chief made the statement a day after fourteen senators filed a resolution calling for his resignation over his alleged failure in handling the pandemic crisis in the Philippines.
The country has 16 accredited testing centers, and 30 more are “in the pipeline.” Health authorities target to run 8,000 to 10,000 tests per day by the end of April, said Duque.
“Marami tayong mga laboratoryo ngayon, pero sabi ko nga, doblehin iyong operating hours. Hindi puwedeng 8 hours lang iyan, dapat iyan 3 shifts or 24 hours para talaga dumoble, trumiple ang kanilang testing output,” he told DZMM.
(We have numerous laboratories now, but as I have said, double the operating hours. An 8-hour operation is not enough. It should be in three shifts or 24 hours so that the testing output would be doubled or tripled.)
Duque said the testing centers in the next few days could yield “a good approximation of the epidemic curve” or the rate of increase of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon.
He said he would also personally inspect Marikina’s COVID-19 testing laboratory. Marikina’s government insisted on opening the said facility today, even without the DOH’s approval.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reported to Duque that the Marikina lab is yet to train its staff and install some machines.
The Philippines, as of Thursday, confirmed 5,660 COVID-19, with 362 deaths and 435 patients who recovered.
The entire Luzon was still under the extended enhanced community quarantine until April 30. However, Palace said another extension or a total lockdown is still considered if the number of cases continues to increase and if ECQ violations persist.
COVID-19 testing centers in the Philippines
The Philippines has now 15 DOH accredited testing centers across the country:
- Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)
- San Lazaro Hospital
- UP National Institute of Health
- Lung Center of the Philippines
- Baguio General Hospital
- Medical Center Baguio
- Western Visayas Medical Center
- Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center
- Southern Philippines Medical Center
- Bicol Public Health Laboratory
- St. Lukes Medical Center – Global/Quezon City
- The Medical City – Pasig
- Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory
- Makati Medical City
- V. Luna Hospital
- De La Salle Health Sciences Institute in Dasmarinas City