NegOr to open COVID-19 testing laboratory

Pathologist Dr. Mico Cablao (L), in-charge of the newly-built Molecular Laboratory in Negros Oriental, presents the status of the soon-to-open facility during an Inter-Agency Task Force meeting. (PIA Negros Oriental)

NEGROS ORIENTAL, Sept. 21 (PIA) — The first-ever molecular laboratory in Negros Oriental is ready to be launched at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH) in October 2020 to boost the province’s campaign against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dumaguete City.

The biosafety Level 2 plus laboratory intends to test 150 individuals in a day with the release of the result in 48 hours or two days, said Dr. Mico Cablao, pathologist of NOPH.

In an Inter-Agency Task Force consultative meeting with the local chief executives, Cablao said as soon as the application for accreditation of the laboratory will be approved by Department of Health (DOH), “we can start the testing of the specimen here.”

Maka barato na ta sa mga (we can now have more affordable) PCR tests and the LSIs arriving will be swabbed here. That will open up the city and province for tourists and visitors later on, this is a good development,” said Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo. 

It was noted that the facility will have an effect on those who need to undergo reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test, unlike at present when the specimens have to be sent to Cebu City.

In her report to the mayors, Dr. Liland Estacion, IATF health ground commander, said the province so far has manageable number of COVID-19 cases, but emphasized that for as long as the people are cooperative and consistently observing health and safety protocols, the virus can be prevented.

For the management of the molecular laboratory, a public hearing will be set for the crafting of an ordinance as the mayors will have to come to an agreement for the expenditures of the lab tests, whether there will be a cost sharing scheme between the province, local government units, and the patients.

Currently, Cablao said the facility is now almost done with the DOH licensing process, has passed Stage 4 proficiency test with Stage 5 awarding of license to operate.

It is expected to be completed by the end of this month and will likely be operational in October. (jct/PIA7 Negros Oriental)

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