MANILA (UPDATE) - Marikina City has been finally been allowed to operate its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, the office of the mayor said Thursday.
Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro said COVID-19 testing will start with 600 to 800 residents.
"Magagawa ko na iyong kailangan, iyong necessity maa-address ko na, iyong magagawa na natin ang kailangan ng tao," he said.
[We will finally be able to carry out what should be done, what our people need.]
Teodoro said the diagnostic laboratory, which is the country's 20th accredited COVID-19 testing center, will be part of Marikina's "regular health service" as the pathogen is likely to remain in the country even when the number of infections subsides.
"Magiging part na ito ng regular health service ng Marikina, kasi iyong virus mawala man ang quarantine narito pa rin eh," he said.
(This will be part of the regular health service in Marikina, because it still will remain here even if the lockdown in the country is lifted.)
"Kung may natutuwa ngayon, ang natutuwa ay mga taga-Marikina dahil alam nila mayroon na tayong capacity," he added.
(If there are people happy during this time, they are the Marikina residents since they know we have the capacity to test for COVID-19.)
Teodoro earlier said that not only Marikina residents will be served by the testing center, as the city has also entered an agreement with neighboring areas such as San Mateo and Antipolo in Rizal province for access to services of the laboratory.
In a separate statement, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Department of Health has approved the laboratory and may begin operations on Friday.
Back in April 16, Teodoro invoked local governments' autonomy and the nationwide state of public health emergency when it insisted to open the P3.8-million molecular laboratory.
The city government had moved the facility to a different building after it was initially rejected by the DOH while at the 6th floor of the City Health Office and was found to have failed standards on "space and biosafety."
A shortage of test sites has led to delays in the reporting of COVID-19 cases, the mayor had said. --With a report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News