Using COVID-19 testing lab sans DOH nod may be risky, Marikina City told | Inquirer News

Using COVID-19 testing lab sans DOH nod may be risky, Marikina City told

/ 06:40 PM April 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday warned the Marikina City government against opening its own COVID-19 testing center without the agency’s approval, saying that doing so may put the city’s residents into harm’s way.

Earlier, Marikina City mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro announced that their testing laboratory located inside a new two-storey building in Brgy. Concepcion Uno will start testing swab samples for COVID-19 this week, insisting that “local autonomy” allows it.

“The DOH has been contacted several times by the city government for it to check the new facility, but its team did not arrive,” the city government said in a statement.


But in a virtual press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire denied that the agency is not helping Marikina City in its application for accreditation.


While the agency understands the urgency of the issue, Vergeire insisted that science and protocols on biosafety must be followed, stressing that the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is highly infectious.

“Hindi po ang DOH ang nag-iipit sa inyo, kami po ay kaalyado niyo sa laban na ito. Ngunit kailangan po nating sundin ang siyensiya at tamang proseso kundi ang mga mamamayan niyo din mismo ang magdudusa dito,” Vergeire said.

She also said that DOH sent a team to Marikina City’s laboratory on Tuesday, a day after the agency supposedly received the city government’s request for assessment of its facility.

During Tuesday’s assessment, Vergeire said the DOH team found that some equipment has yet to be installed in the facility and that its laboratory technician and personnel have yet to undergo training.

“Doon po ay nakita natin na naihanda na nila ang kanilang physical facility subalit hindi pa rin po nakainstall ang kanilang mga equipment at hindi pa rin nakahanda ang training ng mga laboratory technician at personnel,” she said.

The DOH team advised the city government to enroll its personnel in the online course of the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) to prepare for hands-on training on biosafety with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on Monday.


Vergeire said the testing center is now under Stage 3 of the laboratory accreditation. She explained there are five stages in certifying laboratories for COVID-19 testing under DOH’s procedure.

While Marikina City is still processing its laboratory, Vergeire said it can send swab samples to 15 accredited testing centers in the meantime.

She also said that Marikina City can follow some local government units such as the cities of Valenzuela and Manila, which have already tied up with DOH-accredited laboratories to help them with COVID-19 testing.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

There were 68 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Marikina as of Tuesday afternoon. Six patients have recovered while 18 have died from the disease.


For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.

TAGS: 2019-nCoV, Coronavirus, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, DoH, Health, Local news, Marcy Teodoro, Marikina City, Metro Manila, NcoV, nCoV update, News, Outbreak, pandemic, Philippine news updates, RITM, testing lab, Virus

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.