DOH: 3 more facilities added to licensed COVID-19 laboratories

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 05 2020 07:12 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health on Tuesday said it has approved a total of 23 COVID-19 laboratories in the country.

“Bilang paghahanda at masiguro na ang ating health care system ay makatugon sa pangangailangan sa pag-test ng mga hinihinalang mga kaso, nagagalak kaming ibalita na ang UP PGH Medical Research Lab, Singapore Diagnostic Inc., at Cebu TB Reference Laboratory ay nalisensyahan na,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing.

(To prepare and ensure that our health care system is able to address the need to test suspected cases, we are happy to announced that the UP PGH Medical Research Lab, Singapore Diagnostic Inc., and the Cebu TB Reference Laboratory have been given licenses.)

The other licensed laboratories are:

* Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center
* Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory
* Chinese General Hospital
* Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory
* Lung Center of the Philippines
* Makati Medical Center
* Marikina Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory
* Philippine Red Cross
* Philippine Genome Center - UP Diliman
* Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
* San Lazaro Hospital
* Southern Philippines Medical Center 
* St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City
* St. Luke's Medical Center in BGC
* The Medical City
* University of Philippines National Institutes of Health
* V. Luna Hospital
* Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center
* Western Visayas Medical Center

To become licensed to run COVID-19 tests, a laboratory must pass the 5-stage process but only 23 have so far reached the fifth stage.

The 5-stage process of COVID-19 laboratories include assessment, validation or on-site assessment by experts, personnel training, proficiency testing or validation by RITM, and full-scale implementation.

DOH data show that there are 77 laboratory applications, 58 of which are under Stage 3 and up.

Based on the DOH COVID-19 report released Tuesday, the country has conducted a total of 130,889 tests on 117,972 unique individuals. Of those, 12,372 had positive results and 105,338 had negative results.

Vergeire said positive test results still undergo validation, which is why it is higher than the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, which was at 9,684 as of Tuesday.

The country was hoping to reach a testing capacity of 8,000 tests per day by April 30, but daily tests remain below 5,000. On Monday it hit 4,725.

Despite this, Vergeire said the DOH will still continue to target 30,000 tests per day by May 30. 

“Sa ganitong paraan masisiguro natin na magakakaroon ng access ang bawat mamamayan na nangangailangan ng COVID-19 testing,” she said.

(Through this we can ensure that all citizens requiring COVID-19 testing would be given access.)

She said this entails ensuring that there are enough supplies in the country’s laboratories.

Besides the remaining 340,557 available test supplies, the health official said the government will be receiving two shipments of test kits in the next two weeks, which would be able to generate 400,000 tests each.