The province’s testing capacity for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is expected to receive a boost with the inauguration of the Bulacan Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory here on Wednesday.
The laboratory can accommodate 96 tests per run in a span of three to four hours using the reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine.
Governor Daniel R. Fernando led the inaugural ceremony for the facility located at the Bulacan Medical Center Compound here.
“The molecular lab facility is expected to expand the testing capacity of the province, as well as to acquire fast and accurate results. It is an integral part of Bulacan’s recovery and resiliency plan to help usher in a ‘new normal’,” he said.
Fernando and Vice Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado were joined by Dr. Emily V. Paulino, development management officer of the Department of Health – Bulacan; Kenneth Samaco, World Health Organization (WHO) representative; and other local officials during the inauguration ceremony.
Fernando said the facility, which is worth PHP11 million, would help “flatten the curve” because of its expanded capability to test more specimen and obtain results in just a few hours.
“Naniniwala po tayo na isa sa mga susi upang mapabilis ang paglutas natin at mapigil ang paglobo ng mga pasyenteng may Covid-19 ay ang pagsasagawa ng expanded at targeted testing kung kaya naman sinikap ng inyong lingkod na magkaroon tayo ng sarili nating pasilidad upang hindi na tayo makipagsiksikan sa ibang laboratoryo at maghintay ng matagal upang malaman kung tayo ay positibo o negatibo sa Covid-19 (We believe that one of the keys to hasten the resolution and prevent the swelling of patients with Covid-19 is to conduct expanded and targeted testing. That is why we tried to have our own facility so that we no longer need to go to crowded laboratories and wait a long time to find out if we are positive or negative for Covid-19),” he said.
Fernando also said like the previously launched and now operating Bulacan Medical Center GeneXpert Laboratory, the new Bulacan Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory could be used to test gathered specimens for tuberculosis, flu, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B and C by using the PCR machine, DNA and RNA that can be quantified, and be used to detect the presence of a specific virus or bacteria.
Provincial health officer, Dr. Hjordis Celis, said the Bulacan Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory would undergo a competency examination and perform a proficiency testing on August 3, before it officially starts to operate.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Health Office reported 37 new Covid-19 cases in the province as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, bringing the total number to 726.
Dr. Joy Gomez, head for public health of the Provincial Health Office, also said 247 patients have recovered from the dreaded disease.
On the other hand, the number of fatalities is 39. (PNA)