BACOLOD CITY - The first mobile coronavirus testing unit in the country was launched in Bacolod City on Thursday.
The biosafe swab mobile will be used by the City Health Office for their contact tracing mission, freeing up the use of ambulances.
"This will help protect health workers from being exposed unnecessarily during specimen extraction," Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said.
"Instead of letting the patient go to the hospital for swab test the city health staff will go to the area of the patient [who is a probable case] of COVID-19 (infection)."
Only 2 health workers will perform the swab test in the mobile lab, according to Dr. Juluis Drilon, medical center chief of the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital.
The project is in line with the construction of the regional hospital's biolab scheduled to operate by June.
Engineer Joseph Saril and the mayor's daughter Kara initiated the project sponsored by members of the Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Saril said the mobile lab's physical aspect may be easily replicated but its biosafety measure is the most important part when making a unit.
Another unit will soon follow after a private firm committed to donate another swab mobile for the city, the mayor said.
As of April 22, the city has recorded 10 cases of COVID-19, with 3 recoveries and 2 deaths, according to the Department of Health.
The Philippines has recorded over 10,000 cases of the coronavirus disease, with 1,506 recoveries and 658 deaths.