Covid-19 Molecular Lab In Zambales Now Operational

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In line with its efforts to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the Zambales Provincial Health Office has announced its molecular laboratory is now operational after receiving accreditation from the Department of Health (DOH).

Located at the President Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Hospital (PRMMH) in Iba, Zambales, the laboratory was established in a bid to strengthen the province’s testing capacity and Covid-19 response efforts,

Noel Bueno, chief of the Provincial Health Office, said on Wednesday it is a GeneXpert laboratory that could help them hasten the testing process for easy identification of positive Covid-19 cases at the same time improve the contact tracing process.

“In these trying times of pandemic, we can now deliver a fast and accurate result using Xpert Xpress Sars-Cov-2/ GeneXpert testing, a cartridge based-polymerase chain reaction (Rapid-PCR) which is used as a confirmatory test for Covid-19. This is through the initiative of Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr.,” Bueno said in a social media account.

Through the GeneXpert laboratory, he said Covid-19 test results will be known within 45 minutes up to one hour.

He said 23 tests were initially conducted during the molecular laboratory’s opening on Dec. 1.

The facility is open from Monday to Friday starting 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

He said the cut-off time for accepting specimens is until 1 p.m.

Due to limited test kits, he said only 40 tests can so far be accommodated per day.

To be prioritized are those suspected cases with travel history or exposure to probable or confirmed case as determined through contact tracing, those who are confined at the PRMMH that need to undergo retesting; those who will undergo elective or emergency operation; health workers and front-liners; those 65 years old who have illnesses like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and others; and those patients who are undergoing dialysis.

“Bagamat limitado ang maaaring ma-test sa isang araw, ang PRMMH ay tatanggap pa rin ng mga wala sa nabanggit pero ito ay ipapadala sa Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital Molecular Laboratory at maari ding magpa-test sa Philippine Red Cross Molecular Laboratory (Although tests at PRMMH per day are limited, it will still accept those who are not included in the priority list. However, it will be sent to Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital Molecular Laboratory and may also undergo test at the Philippine Red Cross Molecular Laboratory),” Bueno said.

For PhilHealth members, payment for Covid-19 test is only PHP300 while non-PhilHealth member is PHP2,700.

There is a 20-percent discount for senior citizens and persons with disability.

As of Dec. 1, the total confirmed Covid-19 cases in Zambales reached 650 with 610 recoveries, 32 active cases, and eight deaths. (PNA)

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