Davao Regional Medical Center now runs COVID-19 tests
DAVAO DEL NORTE, June 4 (PIA) – The testing for COVID19 can now be done in Tagum City, Davao del Norte as the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) is now certified by the Department of Health (DOH) to handle testing for such highly infectious disease.
Guesting at Kapihan sa DavNor Wednesday, DRMC Laboratory Section head, Dr. Alejandro Domingo, a pathologist, confirmed such capacity of DRMC using Gen-Xpert machine to run a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19.
“Dili na kinahanglan ipa confirm pa. (No need for confirmatory). Actually It is already a confirmatory test,” he said confirming that DRMC need not run to Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) based in Davao City to verify COVID-19 test results.
He said DRMC received the license to operate last week, and DRMC started running the COVID-19 test using Gen-Xpert machine since Saturday. As of Tuesday, a total of 107 samples had been tested yielding negative results, he said.
DRMC right now has been licensed to run three units of Gen-Xpert machine and it is waiting for two more from DOH, Dr. Domingo said.
“What we have right now is actually free. The kits come from DOH. We just have to follow protocol; there are guidelines,” Dr. Domingo said.
DRMC infectious disease specialist and head of Emerging/ Re-emerging Infectious Disease (ERID) Control Team leader, Dr. Mitzie Lou Osabel said prioritized for testing are persons under investigation (PUI) suspects directly exposed to COVID-19 positive, and Balik Probinsya beneficiaries.
Also considered for Gen-Xpert free testing are heath care workers, family members manifesting COVID-19 symptoms traced to exposure of a positive patients and, those showing severe symptoms with history of travel to areas with local transmission.
Meanwhile, Dr. Domingo still figured out the need to pursue the project with the University of Mindanao (UP-Min) UP Genome Center assisted testing laboratory project equipped to run real time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (real time RT-PCR), which Domingo said.
“It is still best for us to pursue the RT-PCR which still the gold stardard in testing for COVID-19,”he said.
He noted high chances of resurging of COVID-19 cases in the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro and Davao Oriental covered by the services of DRMC.
He particularly noted as triggering factor the Balik Probinsya Program of the national government bringing in the stranded, those who opt to go back to provincial residency, and the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“Each person will be having a history of travel from other areas nga daghn ug COVID (with high COVID) and aside from that they will be traveling as a group. Maski social distancing, isang group pa rin sila, isang bus (Though there would be social distancing, they are still in one group, in one bus) so the chances of infections Is still very high),”he pointed out.
Looking at the possibility of more COVID cases turning up, he said the Gen-Xpert machine might be overloaded. With three units of Gen-Xpert, his laboratory can run only 28 to 32 test a day.
Pending the final set up and run of the RT-PCR laboratory assisted by UP-Min UP Genome Center, Dr. Domingo was also looking at the need for additional personnel. (PIA XI/ Jeanevive Duron Abangan)