Negros Occidental now has COVID-19 testing lab

Marchel P. Espina

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Negros Occidental now has COVID-19 testing lab
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson says the lab will be able to test more Negrenses in a timely manner, especially returning overseas Filipino workers and stranded individuals

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines –  Negros Occidental now has its first ever coronavirus disease testing laboratory at the provincial government-run Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital (TLJPH) in Silay City.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine has certified that the province’s molecular laboratory can conduct Realtime Polymerase Chain Reaction tests for Covid-19. The Department of Health (DOH)has also granted the lab a license to operate.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, who led the inauguration on Tuesday, June 2, said that the lab will be able to test more Negrenses in a timely manner, especially the returning overseas Filipino workers and the stranded individuals.

Negrenses have been relying on Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo for COVID-19 tests.

Lacson said the lab is fully operational and will have the first week as its proficiency week to ensure that the lab will be able to operate in its full capacity.

“It will be more prudent for our medical technologists to take this first week as part of their proficiency test. We’re not expecting them to maximize the equipment. We want them to be very comfortable as they increase their speed,” he said.

He said the equipment, which was purchased by the provincial government, is expected to handle 250 to 300 tests per day.

The province has allocated P50 million for the COVID-19 lab, he added.

Also, the laboratory will have two more equipment and an extractor to boost its testing capacity, he said.

Former Negros Occidental representative Alfredo Benitez donated the second machine and an extractor, while the third equipment will come from the DOH, he added.

He also said the provincial government will shoulder the payment for the tests, and that it will be reimbursed by PhilHealth.

We discourage walk-ins, as it can put health personnel at risk, he added.

Meanwhile, Lacson said the provincial government has earmarked P100 million for an infectious disease facility at TLJPH.

“We will expand the building, designing it in such a way that if another pandemic occurs, we can close a certain part of the hospital to cater to whatever viral disease,” he said.

He said the P100 million will be sourced from the P155 million “Bayanihan” grant allocated by the national government to the province for the COVID-19 pandemic. –

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