MANILA - The Marikina City Government has identified a building where it will transfer its molecular laboratory capable of testing for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in compliance with requirements set by the Department of Health (DOH).
"Sa Lunes o Martes baka maipakita na namin ang gusaling paglilipatan ng bagong laboratory. Natukoy na namin. Tahimik pa lang kami ngayon pero kumikilos at gumagawa," Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said on Saturday.
(On Monday or Tuesday we can show the building where we will transfer the new laboratory. We have identified it. We are just quiet now but we are moving, doing something.)
"Inihahanda na namin kahapon pa. May progress naman. Hinahanda natin ito dahil kailangan natin ng testing center para sa kababayan natin. Maraming naghihintay," he said.
(We have been preparing it since yesterday. There's progress. We are preparing it because we need a testing center for our people. Many are waiting.
The DOH had earlier rejected the lab at the 6th floor of the City Health Office as it failed standards on "space and biosafety," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday.
In an interview on DZMM, Teodoro said they are now preparing the building for the lab transfer but would still need to fix its partitions.
"'Yung building na nakuha namin wala 'yung necessary partition pa, 'yung pagkakahati-hati nung lugar, kung paano aayusin 'yung protocol ng pag-receive ng specimen hanggang makarating doon sa laboratory mismo," Teodoro said.
(The building we got lacks the necessary partitions, we're looking at how to lay down protocol for receiving specimen until it reaches the actual lab.)
Aside from room partitions, Teodoro explained that they would have to arrange for the transfer and installation of equipment, including the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine which would require sequencing.
The earlier rejected laboratory, worth P3.8 million, is equipped with the PCR machine and other equipment that could be used to test COVID-19 cases. It can analyze nearly 100 tests per day and could also help diagnose coronavirus cases in nearby municipalities.
"'Yung laboratoryo hindi ordinaryong kuwarto lang. May receiving area ng specimen, mayroong isolation room, decontamination room, negative pressure room, mayroong reagent room, at laboratory mismo. 'Yung makinang gagamitin pati freezer refrigeration ay dapat may mga required temperature," he said.
(The laboratory is not just any ordinary room. It has a receiving area for specimen, has an isolation room, decontamination room, negative pressure room, reagent room, and the actual lab. The machine to be used and the freezer refrigeration has a required temperature.)
Teodoro said he would comply with DOH requirements but added it was unfortunate that days go by that Filipinos in need of testing do not get checked.
The DOH earlier said the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, the country's main COVID-19 testing center, was dealing with a backlog of pending tests.
"Ako, susunod naman ako pero nanghihinayang ako at nalulungkot sa mga araw na nawala dahil habang dumadaan ang araw at tumatagal marami tayong kababayan na nahihirapan dahil hindi malaman kung infected siya o hindi," said the mayor.
(I will follow but I lament and I am saddened that days pass and it's taking time while many of our compatriots are having a hard time and unsure if they are infected or not.)
Teodoro assured the public that they will not abandon their initiative, especially in this time of crisis. He said residents from other nearby towns also stand to benefit from the testing center.