Marikina converts gov't building to COVID-19 testing center


Posted at Mar 30 2020 02:46 PM

MARIKINA - A new government building in Marikina City is being converted to house a multi-million peso laboratory for COVID-19 testing, the local chief executive said Monday, after the health department rejected the center's initial location. 

The Department of Health last week disapproved the city's P3.8-million molecular lab because it was located on the 6th floor of the Marikina City hall, which could be a bio-hazard risk. 

The local government expects that within two weeks and after minor restructuring, the laboratory can be moved to what was initially intended to be the city's public safety center along Bayan-Bayanan Avenue, said Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro. 

“Hindi lang dun sa in terms of trained personnel, hindi lang yung work process, kundi yung layout pati nung laboratory ay sumusunod dun sa bio-hazard safety,” Teodoro said.

(Apart from the trained personnel and the work process, the layout of the laboratory should also follow bio-hazard safety standards.) 
“Pareho lang sa tinayo natin nung una, yun nga lang ito nasa sa isang hiwalay na building na,” Teodoro said.

(This will be the same as the initial design. It's just that it will be located in a separate building.) 

The laboratory can run up to 100 tests a day and help screen potential cases of the respiratory disease in neighboring towns.

The facility was developed with the help of the University of the Philippines-National Institutes for Heath, which produced the first Filipino-made COVID-19 test kits. 

“Hindi lang nanghihinayang eh, nakakatakot yung nangyayari dahil sa bawat araw na dumadaan na walang testing center, marami tayong mga kababayan na nasa mahirap na kalagayan. May namamatay tayong kababayan hindi nila alam COVID-positive na pala sila,” Teodoro said.

(We are not just regretful, we are also afraid of the situation in which each day that there is not testing center, many of our poor compatriots die without knowing whether or not they are COVID-positive.)

Marikina, as of Monday, has 21 confirmed cases of the disease, with 4 deaths. City authorities are monitoring 10 patients with symptoms, and 41 others without symptoms but had recently traveled abroad or were exposed to COVID-19 carriers, Teodoro said. 

Report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News