The Philippines now has 85 certified laboratories capable of testing specimens from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients.
In its July 15 situation report, the Department of Health (DOH) said there are 63 licensed RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) laboratories and 22 licensed GeneXpert laboratories improving the country’s testing capacity.
To date, the total number of laboratory applications nationwide is 186, around 89 percent of these are in Stage 3 and up.
In a media forum on Wednesday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said submission of daily accomplishment reports on time is a challenge for some of the laboratories, citing that many of them provide reports beyond the 6 p.m. cutoff.
“When we sat with them, we had a meeting, one of the challenges of the laboratories really is encoding because in some laboratories, encoding is done by the personnel conducting the test. At a certain time, they’ll stop processing tests, then, they’ll begin encoding,” Vergeire said.
The department introduced the Covid Data Repository System (CDRS) to help the laboratories with encoding struggles.
In this system, laboratories are expected to upload their excel files containing their daily case updates to the CDRS which is connected to the COVID KAYA.
COVID KAYA is DOH’s case and contact tracing reporting system for epidemiology and surveillance purposes.
“We started off with that and we have a deadline for them to use CDRS, in order to upload all data to us (in a) timely (manner), and we can get them by 6 p.m. every day. So, this was given to them as an instruction, latter part of last week, so, we’ll see this week if our submissions would be stabilized because of this,” Vergeire said.
On Wednesday, the DOH reported 1,392 new Covid-19 infections, raising the overall tally to 58,850.
The additional cases reported were based on the total tests done by 73 out of 82 operational laboratories.
The licensed RT-PCR laboratories include Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Parkway Medical and Diagnostic Center, AFRIMS-Collaborative Molecular Laboratory, Asian Hospital, and Medical Center, Chinese General Hospital, Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, Dr. Jose B. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium, Fe del Mundo Medical Center, Health Delivery Systems, Hi-Precision-Quezon City and Lung Center of the Philippines.
Makati Medical Center, Marikina Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory, Philippine Genome Center UP-Diliman, Philippine Red Cross-National Blood Center, Philippine Red Cross-Port Area, Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory, PRC-PRC Logistics, and Multipurpose Center and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
Safeguard DNA Diagnostics, Inc., San Lazaro Hospital, San Miguel Foundation Testing Laboratory, Singapore Diagnostic, Inc., St. Luke’s Medical Center-Bonifacio Global City, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City, The Medical City-Ortigas, Tropical Disease Foundation, UP National Institutes of Health, UP Philippine General Hospital-Medical Research Laboratory, Ilocos Training Regional Medical Center, Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital, Bataan General Hospital, and Green City Medical Center.
The other licensed RT-PCR laboratories are J.B. Lingad Memorial Hospital, Philippine Red Cross-Logistics, and Training Center, Philippine Red Cross Clark Molecular Laboratory, Qualimed Hospital-San Jose Del Monte, De La Salle University-Cavite, Lucena United Doctors Hospital and Medical Center, Ospital ng Imus, PRC-Batangas Chapter Molecular Laboratory, Qualimed Hospital Santa Rosa, San Pablo District Hospital, UPLB Covid-19 Molecular Laboratory, and Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory.
Also included on the list are Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, Qualimed Health Network-IloIlo, Teresita Jalandoni Provincial Hospital, Western Visayas Medical Center, Allegiant Regional Care Hospital, Cebu TB Reference Laboratory, Prime Care Alpha Covid-19 Testing Laboratory, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Divine Word Hospital and Eastern Visayas Regional Covid-19 Testing Center.
Accredited laboratories in Mindanao include Ciudad Medical Zamboanga, Zamboanga City Medical Center-Department of Agriculture Satellite Laboratory for Covid-19 Testing, Northern Mindanao TB Regional Center, Polymedic Medical Plaza, Davao One World Diagnostic Center Incorporated and Southern Philippines Medical Center.
Meanwhile, the licensed cartridge-based PCR or GeneXpert laboratories are Amai Pakpak Medical Center, Dr. Jose B. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium, Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Heart Center, Sta. Ana Hospital-Closed System Molecular Laboratory, Tondo Medical Center, Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital, Region 1 Medical Center, Cagayan Valley CHD TB Reference Laboratory, Bataan General Hospital, Bulacan Medical Center, Batangas Medical Center, Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital, Ospital ng Palawan, Bicol Medical Center, Zamboanga City Medical Center, Northern Mindanao Medical Center, Davao Regional Medical Center, Cotabato Regional Medical Center, and St. Elizabeth Hospital. (PNA)