Where are testing centers for coronavirus in PH?

Michael Bueza
Where are testing centers for coronavirus in PH?
(25th UPDATE) As of July 11, tests are conducted at full scale in 63 laboratories nationwide and in 22 labs using Gene Xpert. At least 93 other laboratories are being prepared to handle tests.

MANILA, Philippines (25th UPDATE) – Governments around the world have responded in various ways to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared as a pandemic.

In the Philippines, besides lockdowns or community quarantines over some areas in the country, the government is also stepping up its efforts to test suspected cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. 

As of Saturday, July 11, all laboratory tests on the coronavirus are conducted at full scale in 63 facilities in the country:

Metro Manila

  1. Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Muntinlupa City
  2. Asian Hospital and Medical Center, Muntinlupa City
  3. Chinese General Hospital, Manila
  4. Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, Mandaluyong City
  5. Dr Jose B Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium, Caloocan City
  6. Fe del Mundo Medical Center, Quezon City
  7. Health Delivery Systems, Mandaluyong City
  8. Hi-Precision Diagnostics, Quezon City
  9. Lung Center of the Philippines, Quezon City
  10. Makati Medical Center, Makati City
  11. Marikina Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory (run by Marikina City Health Office)
  12. National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Quezon City
  13. Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory, Pasay City
  14. Philippine Genome Center, Quezon City
  15. Philippine Red Cross, Mandaluyong City
  16. Philippine Red Cross – Logistics and Multi-purpose Center, Mandaluyong City
  17. Philippine Red Cross – Port Area, Manila
  18. PNP Crime Laboratory, Quezon City
  19. Safeguard DNA Diagnostics, Mandaluyong City
  20. San Lazaro Hospital, Manila
  21. San Miguel Foundation Testing Laboratory, Mandaluyong City
  22. Singapore Diagnostics, Makati City
  23. St Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City
  24. St Luke’s Medical Center, Taguig City
  25. The Medical City, Pasig City
  26. Tropical Disease Foundation, Makati City
  27. University of the Philippines (UP) National Institutes of Health, Manila
  28. UP Philippine General Hospital – Medical Research Laboratory, Manila
  29. Victoriano Luna Hospital (AFRIMS Collaborative Molecular Laboratory), Quezon City

CAR

  1. Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Baguio City
  2. Parkway Medical and Diagnostic Center, Baguio City

Ilocos Region

  1. Ilocos Training Regional Medical Center, San Fernando City, La Union
  2. Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital, Batac City, Ilocos Norte

Central Luzon

  1. Bataan General Hospital, Balanga City, Bataan
  2. Green City Medical Center, San Fernando City, Pampanga
  3. Jose B Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital, San Fernando City, Pampanga
  4. Philippine Red Cross – Logistics and Training Center, Subic, Zambales
  5. Philippine Red Cross Clark Molecular Laboratory, Pampanga
  6. Qualimed Hospital – San Jose del Monte, Bulacan

Calabarzon

  1. De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute, Dasmariñas City, Cavite
  2. Lucena United Doctors Hospital and Medical Center, Quezon
  3. Ospital ng Imus, Cavite
  4. Philippine Red Cross – Batangas Chapter Molecular Laboratory
  5. Qualimed Hospital Sta. Rosa, Laguna
  6. San Pablo District Hospital, Laguna
  7. UP Los Baños COVID-19 Molecular Laboratory, Laguna

Bicol Region

  1. Bicol Regional Diagnostics and Reference Laboratory, Legazpi City, Albay

Western Visayas

  1. Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
  2. Qualimed Health Network – Iloilo, Iloilo City
  3. Teresita Jalandoni Provincial Hospital, Silay City, Negros Occidental
  4. Western Visayas Medical Center, Iloilo City

Central Visayas

  1. Allegiant Regional Care Hospital, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
  2. Cebu TB Reference Laboratory
  3. Prime Care Alpha COVID-19 Testing Laboratory, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
  4. Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Cebu City

Eastern Visayas

  1. Divine Word Hospital, Tacloban City, Leyte
  2. Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, Tacloban City, Leyte

Zamboanga Peninsula

  1. Ciudad Medical Zamboanga, Zamboanga City
  2. Zamboanga City Medical Center – DA Satellite Lab

Northern Mindanao

  1. Northern Mindanao TB Regional Center, Cagayan de Oro City
  2. Polymedic Medical Plaza, Cagayan de Oro City

Davao Region

  1. Davao One World Diagnostic Center, Davao City
  2. Southern Philippines Medical Center, Davao City

The Department of Health (DOH) also reported 22 facilities that have been accredited to conduct RT-PCR tests using Gene Xpert. However, in its July 11 report, only 21 facilities had been listed:

Metro Manila

  1. Dr Jose B Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium, Caloocan City
  2. Lung Center of the Philippines, Quezon City
  3. National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Quezon City
  4. Philippine Heart Center, Quezon City
  5. Sta. Ana Hospital – Closed System Molecular Laboratory, Manila
  6. Tondo Medical Center, Manila

Ilocos Region

  1. Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital, Batac City, Ilocos Norte
  2. Region 1 Medical Center, Dagupan City, Pangasinan

Cagayan Valley

  1. CHD TB Reference Laboratory, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan

Central Luzon

  1. Bataan General Hospital, Balanga City
  2. Bulacan Medical Center, Malolos City

Calabarzon

  1. Batangas Medical Center, Batangas City

Mimaropa

  1. Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital, Calapan City
  2. Ospital ng Palawan, Puerto Princesa City

Bicol Region

  1. Bicol Medical Center, Naga City, Camarines Sur

Zamboanga Peninsula

  1. Zamboanga City Medical Center

Northern Mindanao

  1. Northern Mindanao Medical Center, Cagayan de Oro City

Davao Region

  1. Davao Regional Medical Center, Tagum City, Davao del Norte

Soccsksargen

  1. Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center, Koronadal City, South Cotabato

Soccsksargen/BARMM

  1. Amai Pakpak Medical Center, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur
  2. Cotabato Regional Medical Center, Cotabato City

The RITM certified these laboratories to screen for COVID-19. All have reached Stage 5 of the accreditation process, which means they have been “certified and allowed to process and test samples at full scale.”

RITM is the country’s national reference laboratory for infectious and tropical diseases. It is under the DOH.

A person who exhibits virus symptoms or has a travel or exposure history in relation to the virus may proceed to any hospital to be admitted to designated isolation areas, where samples will be taken and brought to the testing center. (READ: When you need to get tested for coronavirus – or not)

The DOH explained that persons under investigation or PUIs will be tested only if they are experiencing severe manifestations of the symptoms. However, elderly people who exhibit symptoms, whether mild or severe, as well as persons with underlying medical conditions will automatically get tested for possible infection.

Before RITM was accredited, samples from the Philippines were sent to the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia.

Coming soon

At least 93 other laboratories – both for RT-PCR tests and Gene Xpert labs – are being prepared to handle tests. As of Saturday, 3 are on Stage 4 of the accreditation process, while 69 are on Stage 3.

In mid-April, some cities like Quezon City, Valenzuela, and Manila began localized or targeted testing for people who may have the virus.

Testing kits

Besides access to testing centers, the availability of testing kits is also important in diagnosing persons under investigation for the coronavirus.

Currently, RITM is running tests with primers sourced from a referral laboratory in Japan, but it has a limited supply. There is also a 24-to-48-hour processing period for the test results. 

On March 30, Vergeire said that the RITM can now process “900 to 1,000 samples per day” while the others can process “more than 200 samples per day.”

However, she earlier said that for now, the tests will be limited to severe and vulnerable PUIs.

On March 16, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced that rapid test kits from South Korea and China were donated to the country to allow for more tests. These test kits can turn up results within hours.

On March 28, though, the DOH said it had discarded some test kits from China because of its poor accuracy. Then it clarified the next day, March 29, that the test kits they discarded were “donated by a private foundation,” while the ones given by the Chinese government “were at par” with test kits provided by the WHO.

To help expand DOH’s testing capacities, UP NIH scientists said they have developed a test kit for the coronavirus. Health authorities approved it for mass use on April 3, after weeks of validation and field-testing. The test kits can accommodate up to 120,000 tests and are capable of fast detection of coronavirus in samples taken from patients, with results ready in two hours.

Separately, on March 20, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 4 test kit products for commercial use.

Earlier, the FDA reminded the public to avoid buying home test kits sold online that have no approval from them yet.

The WHO on Tuesday, March 17, called on countries worldwide to test “every suspected case” of COVID-19.

In the Philippines, as of July 12, there are 56,259 cases of the coronavirus, with 1,534 deaths and 16,046 recoveries. Globally, the number of cases as of July 13 has risen to nearly 12.8 million. The global death toll stands at more than 566,000. – with reports from Mara Cepeda and Bonz Magsambol/Rappler.com

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.