PH now has 4 more laboratories to test patients for COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines now has four more laboratories that can process clinical tests of individuals suspected of having the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said these laboratories are located at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City and the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.
Originally, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa was the only facility certified to conduct clinical tests for the disease in the country.
“Kaya po nilang magproseso ng mahigit kumulang 50 hanggang 300 tests per day. Dahil dito mas mapapabilis na po ang paglabas ng mga resulta ng test (Each of them can process 50 to 300 tests per day. This means the results of tests will be released faster),” Vergeire said in a televised press briefing on Friday.
Aside from these five laboratories, Vergeire said the DOH is also setting up two more subnational laboratories in Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City and Bicol Public Health Laboratory to facilitate tests for COVID-19.
She added the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health was also mobilized by the DOH to help the government on the laboratory capacity.
According to Vergeire, the DOH in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) is also conducting assessment on additional extension laboratories in Metro Manila and later in Visayas and Mindanao.
“Mahalaga po ang pagsecertify ng mga laboratoryong ito at hindi po ito basta-basta. Delikado po ang pagsasagawa ng testing, lalong-lalo na para sa ating laboratory technicians kaya maingat tayo sa pagsecertify ng national laboratories na maaaring magsagawa ng mga ganitong testing,” she explained.
(It is important to certify these laboratories, and these certifications are not extraneous. Conducting tests is dangerous, especially to laboratory technicians that’s why we are being careful in certifying national laboratories that can be used in this kind of testing.)
In the same briefing, Vergeire also announced that the number of individuals who have been infected by the coronavirus disease in the country is now at 230 as of Friday, including 13 new cases. The death toll is now at 18, with one new addition in the count, while the number of recoveries remain at eight.
COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by WHO, is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The virus is related to that which causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome but is not as deadly, with only around three percent mortality rate.
WHO said 80 percent of patients experience mild illness and eventually recover from the disease, while some 14 percent experience severe illness and five percent were critically ill.
The virus is spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth when those infected coughs or sneezes. Health authorities urge the public to practice frequent hand washing, cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those exhibiting respiratory symptoms to prevent infection.
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