Two additional laboratory centers in Western Visayas will begin operations this month that will boost the testing capacity of the region against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“The advantage is that we can free up those examined by the (Western Visayas) Medical Center and we will coordinate with private facilities for rerouting based on the guidelines of the DOH (Department of Health),” said Dr. Marlyn W. Convocar, regional director for the Department of Health (DOH-6) in a press conference on Wednesday, July 8.
The new testing laboratories are the Qualimed Hospital in this city and the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) in Bacolod City.
Convocar said the CLMMRH, which is now ready to open, will be inaugurated on Saturday. It is expected to accommodate specimens coming from Negros Island.
“They are telling us that they will try with 100 tests in a day and increase their capacity as they go along,” the regional director said.
Meantime, the Qualimed Hospital has been given its license to operate on Monday.
“Technically they are ready to perform the tests but they requested just today that they will observe with regard to reporting and other documentary requirements required them by the epidemiology bureau and the DOH,” Dr. Stephanie Abello, the pathologist of the WVMC, said in the same press conference.
Abello added that it is now up to the management of the Qualimed when to start with the processing of specimens since the hospital is now compliant with all the regulatory requirements.
Convocar said Qualimed plans to start with just one shift catering to 96 specimens.
The DOH and the hospital management met in the afternoon to discuss the rerouting of patients and the agreement that needs to be signed by the parties.
The hospital is expected to meet with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to discuss charges for the tests.
Currently, Western Visayas specimens are being processed at the WVMC sub-national laboratory and the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital Molecular Laboratory.
Convocar said the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine will inspect the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital, the proposed laboratory center, in Aklan on July 14.Perla Lena/PNA