1st COVID 19 testing center in Ilocos opens

Ilocos COVID 19 testing center
Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center is the 1st accredited COVID-19 testing center in Region 1.

The first COVID 19 testing center in Ilocos in Northern Philippines has opened after acquiring certification from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC) in Region 1 can now perform tests for coronavirus disease after passing all the examinations needed to conduct testing using the Real-Time (RT) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine.

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ITRMC acquired the certification from the Department of Health RITM on May 20, 2020.

“Effective today, we can now do the testing but we will run sample starting tomorrow. And that’s good news not only for the province of La Union but for the entire region as well,” said Dr. Eduardo M. Badua, ITRMC medical center chief announced.

“They looked into everything from the equipment, facilities such as the design and negative pressure rooms, and the trainings and capabilities of the people who will work in the lab, and we complied with all the requirements,” Badua added.

The City Government of San Fernando, La Union confirmed the certification on its Facebook post, on May 21: “The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) has CERTIFIED the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC) to be a COVID-19 PCR Testing Laboratory.”

For now, the facility’s testing capacity is 50 specimens per day. According to Badua, the number of test results also depend on the number of specimens that will be referred to them by the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the DOH.

The turn-around time for results is 48 hours. “When we say 48 hours, that is 48 hours after the receipt of the specimen in the laboratory,” the ITRMC chief explained.

12 medical technologists will manned the laboratory and one laboratory head will supervise the operations of the facility.

“Our personnel are well trained and are adept in biosafety standards” Dr. Jimmy S. Rosales, section head of the Molecular Biology Laboratory of the ITRMC said.

He added, “We have conducted an in-house training on biosafety apart from being enrolled to webinars conducted by the University of the Philippines on biosafety”.

“We have the support of our medical center chief who provided us ample supply of PPEs for at least three-month operation,” Dr. Rosales shared.

The Department of Health had earlier released the list of COVID-19 testing centers across the nation.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest indoor arena, Philippine Arena in Bulacan, has started operating as a mega swabbing center and its surrounding estate has been turned into a quarantine facility.

The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) COVID-19 Testing Center has stepped up preparations for its operation as a bio-safe and bio-secure facility for Laguna and neighboring provinces.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the team behind setting up the first COVID-19 testing center in Ilocos.

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