Bicol public health lab, St. Luke’s QC accredited for COVID-19 testing; total labs now at 10

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 06 2020 05:16 PM

A lab assistant manipulates samples to detect the COVID-19 at the Imelda hospital in Bonheiden, on April 3, 2020, during measures introduced to attempt to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). AFP

MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday said there are now 10 laboratories nationwide that can process COVID-19 tests.

The two newly accredited laboratories are the Bicol Public Health Laboratory and the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City.

“We currently have 10 laboratories that are in full implementation of the COVID-19 testing,” the DOH said in a message to media.

The other 8 are:

  1. Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City (can run 900 tests daily)
  2. San Lazaro Hospital in Manila City (60-100 tests daily)
  3. UP National Institutes of Health in Manila City (80 tests daily)
  4. Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City (100 tests daily)
  5. Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center in Benguet (150 tests daily)
  6. Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City (80 tests daily)
  7. Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City (240 tests daily)
  8. Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City (100 tests daily)

There are four other laboratories in Stage 4 or proficiency testing stage. At this stage, the laboratory tests samples and the results need confirmation by the RITM before being fully accredited.

There is 1 laboratory at Stage 3 or personnel training. The training is conducted by the RITM and lasts for 3 days.

Twenty more laboratories are in Stage 2, and 22 are in Stage 1. Stage 2 validation involves an on-site visit from the DOH, the RITM and the World Health organization. The Laboratories are expected to comply with requirements if there are any deficiencies seen. Stage 1 is self-assessment where the laboratory is tasked to check its readiness in terms of design, equipment and other requirements.

The DOH is targeting 8,000 tests daily by the end of April. The country has struggled with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and the inadequate number of test kits and of laboratories that are able to run tests at the onset of the pandemic. 

The initial backlog in cases resulted in a number of patients dying before learning of their test results.

As of Monday, there are 3,660 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.