MANILA, Philippines — Once a laboratory in Pampanga becomes operational, the testing capacity of the country for SARS-CoV-2 that leads to severe respiratory illness COVID-19 could increase to as high as 9,500 a day.
This as Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday the testing facility at Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in Pampanga can conduct 3,000 tests per day.
At present, the 18 DOH-accredited COVID-19 testing laboratories nationwide have a capacity to process 2,895 to 6,420 tests a day.
“Kung ang basehan natin ay ang current testing capacity of a maximum of almost 6,500 tests per day, makakapagsagawa na po tayo ng almost 9,500 tests per day [once the laboratory in Pampanga is opened],” the Health official said during an online press briefing.
(If our basis is the current testing capacity of a maximum of almost 6,500 tests per day, we can conduct almost 9,500 tests a day once the laboratory in Pampanga is opened.)
She added that the laboratory in the Pampanga hospital is already set but only awaiting the arrival of some machines needed for the testing.
DOH earlier said it is eyeing to open the laboratory in Pampanga by the first week of May.
According to Vergeire, specimens from Central Luzon and neighboring areas will be processed in the testing facility at Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in Pampanga. This, she noted, would free up some workload in COVID-19 testing centers in Metro Manila.
DOH earlier targeted 8,000 tests a day by April 30. But Vergeire admitted this goal could no longer be feasible.
“Mukhang hindi po aabot dito sa 8,000 for April 30 although sinusubakan ho natin dahil ngayon po dumating na ‘yung cartridges natin for GeneXpert,” she said in an earlier press briefing.
(It seems we cannot reach the 8,000 for April 30 although we are trying our best since our cartridges for GeneXpert already arrived.)
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