The testing capacity for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) of the city government’s molecular laboratory is expected to further increase in the next two weeks following its acquisition of an automated extraction machine.
Dr. Ryan Aplicador, deputy incident commander of the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday the installation of the machine is ongoing in one of the facilities at the laboratory.
He said they are hoping to complete the process within the week so they can start using the machine.
“It will allow us to maximize our capacity to 96 tests per day. Hopefully, the process will be much faster by next week,” Aplicador said in a radio interview.
The official said the laboratory is already running a total of 35 tests per day after starting with 25 when its operations started last Sept. 19.
He said the facility operates at least 12 hours daily or from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and using manual extraction process for the submitted specimen.
The machine, which was recommended by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, mainly fast-tracks the extraction of nucleic acids and the polymerase chain reaction testing process.
Aplicador said the increase in the laboratory’s testing capacity will be gradual to make sure that the tests will be accurate and their personnel will be able to cope with them.
Specimen or swab samples collected from residents are also being processed at the St. Elizabeth Hospital’s laboratory here and the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.
Another private hospital offers Covid-19 testing services in partnership with a DOH-accredited laboratory based in Davao City.
The laboratory is situated at the back of the local government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital, which also hosts the city’s dedicated Covid-19 treatment and isolation center.
Covid-19 cases in the city have been increasing since health and local government officials confirmed the local transmission of the disease in the last week of August.
The confirmed cases in the area since March already reached a total of 434 as of Tuesday night, with 18 related deaths and 228 recoveries.
The number of active cases has dropped to 188 following the recovery of 28 more patients in the last three days, eight more than the recorded 20 new positive cases during the period. (PNA)