MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health told the Marikina City government and its partner hospital, the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, that if they want to build their own COVID-19 Testing Center the facility has to meet strict biosafety requirements.
In a letter to Mayor Marcelino Teodoro on Tuesday, March 24, the Department of Health said the Marikina city health office's proposed testing center did not adhere to biosafety standards.
A COVID-19 testing facility should be located outside of Marikina's city health office "so that cross-infection is minimized and less foot traffic will be observed for the protection of your staff and constituents as a whole," said the DOH.
In the same letter, the DOH provided Marikina city a proposed floor plan and the list of minimum requirements for equipment and personnel for a coronavirus testing facility to meet biosafety level 2 requirements.
Teodoro said he would follow the DOH requirements. “Kung ito ang hinihingi ng DOH, gagawin namin ito. Gagawin natin ito dahil kailangan ng kababayan natin ito, lalo na ang mahihirap, 'yung marginalized sector na walang access sa testing,” the mayor said.
(If these are the requirements of DOH, we will follow it. We will build this facility because the people of Marikina city need this, specially the poor. The marginalized sector have no access to a testing facility.)
Because of the public health emergency, Teodoro said he wanted the testing facility to be operational as soon as possible.
In the proposed plan they submitted to DOH, the Marikina testing center would have been a dedicated floor within the City Health Office.
"Yung City Health Office ay nagbigay tayo ng isang exclusive elevator doon, isang buong palapag ay nakalaan sa laboratoryo natin sa Marikina City COVID testing center." said Teodoro.
(It would have an exclusive elevator and a floor of its own, just for the laboratory of the Marikina City COVID testing center.)
Teodoro said the DOH also disapproved the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center (ARMMC), which is a DOH-retained Level 3 hospital, as an alternative testing facility. Marikina City also proposed as a possibilty using ARMMC's microbiological service.
That too was disallowed by DOH.
“Ayaw din nila sa ARMMC na pinangangasiwaan nila, kahit makakasunod sa ideal set up ng laboratory. gusto talaga nila bagong pasilidad,” the mayor noted.
(DOH also turned down ARMMC, which is a government facility under it, even if the hospital has an ideal laboratory set up. DOH insisted on building a new testing facility.) – Rappler.com