NEGROS ORIENTAL, Sept. 24 (PIA) -- Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo together with provincial health officials here led the inauguration and blessing of the province's new molecular laboratory as part of its counter measures against COVID-19 at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hotel (NOPH) in Dumaguete City.
The first of its kind in the province, the facility will be used to expand COVID-19 testing capacity and ensure that frontliners and the people of the province will be tested for the virus.
Degamo said the laboratory was conceptualized during the first positive COVID-19 case in the country which came into the province.
The governor is referring to the Chinese couple who arrived as tourists in Dumaguete City from Wuhan, China, and the male partner was the first COVID-19 fatality in the country.
"I told the DOH that I am interested in having a molecular testing facility and willing to put up funds for this project because I want to protect the 1.5M people in this province," said Degamo.
Dr. Liland Estacion, ground commander of the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (PIATF-EID), cited that for the past months, the only preferred and definitive testing method for diagnosis is the RTPCR of which the laboratory will initially test 150 individual specimens per day with the results available after 36 to 48 hours.
"This is very important to us because there is already an evidence of local transmission in Canlaon City. What we intend to do is to prevent the community transmission. So by fast swab test results and the commitment of the provincial government, we can improve the health services in the province. So to all the healthcare workers, we should be tested every 15 days," said Estacion.
For his part, Dr. Nikko Paolo Cablao, pathologist and head of the molecular laboratory, pledged to provide accurate and timely results as soon as the DOH approves the accreditation or license to operate.
Cablao expressed his commitment for the design of the laboratory to be more advanced than most laboratories in the country.
"To begin with the extraction step is where you isolate the virus, it is automated, the results will be faster and verified or validated in two days," he said.
"When the lab opens, we will slowly start the testing at 150 tests per day but we are capable of expanding up to 300 to 400 tests per day, and we can start testing the health workers," said Cablao. (jct/PIA7 Negros Oriental)