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Quezon City molecular laboratory gets DOH nod; tests out in 1 day

Quezon City molecular laboratory gets DOH nod; tests out in 1 day

MANILA, Philippines — The newly-established molecular laboratory in Quezon City has secured the approval of the Department of Health (DOH), the local government said Wednesday, adding that the facility can produce COVID-19 test results in just one day.

The Quezon City Public Information Office (PIO) in a statement said the proficiency test of the Quezon City Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory located in Barangay Teachers VIllage East was completed by the DOH-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on Monday.

According to the QCPIO, the laboratory garnered a perfect score after it got accurate results from five samples that were counter-checked and verified by the DOH-RITM.

However, the QCPIO told INQUIRER.net in a separate text message that they are still waiting for final documents and license from DOH before the laboratory can start processing specimens to detect SARS-CoV-2, the latest strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Mayor Joy Belmonte welcomed this development, saying that the laboratory will help the local government’s efforts in its pandemic response.

“Through this laboratory, we can now process test results faster, thus allowing us to act quickly on the isolation and treatment of patients,” Belmonte said.

Belmonte added that the laboratory would likewise help the city in its contact tracing work.

“We will be able to conduct contact tracing faster which will help in quelling the spread of the virus in our community,” she said in Filipino.

Dr. Rolly Cruz, head of the City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU), said the one day turnaround time provided by the molecular laboratory will speed up the city’s community testing program.

“Mas mabilis ang labas ng resulta, mas mainam para sa atin para agad nating mailatag ang mga kailangang pagkilos,” Cruz said in the similar statement.

(The faster we get results, the better for us because it would enable us to lay down the needed actions.)

Joseph Juico, QC COVID-19 task force head, also noted that the new laboratory will lessen the expenses of the local government and would cut the city’s dependence on private laboratories.

“With this laboratory, Quezon City can now independently conduct tests and will no longer need to rely on other private labs who are hard-pressed to produce results needed by other cities,” he said in the same statement.

The molecular laboratory is housed in a three-story building that also has an area for data encoding, conference rooms, and sleeping quarters for the 20 City Health Department (CHD) staff that will manage the facility.

As of Tuesday, DOH recorded a total of 31,634 cases of COVID-19 in  Quezon City. This includes 25,574 recoveries and 527 deaths. Miggy Dumlao, Inquirer.net, trainee

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