Philippines has almost 90,000 new coronavirus test kits, DOH says

THE Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and six other health facilities across the country still have a combined inventory of almost 90,000 test kits to detect the novel coronavirus, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday, March 31.

As of March 30, the DOH said a total of 15,337 tests have been conducted in the country. The number includes retests and validation tests.

There are still a total of 89,969 test kits available, the agency added.

The tests are being conducted at the RITM, San Lazaro Hospital and UP National Institutes of Health in the National Capital Region, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) in the Cordillera, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Central Visayas, Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Western Visayas, and Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao.

As of March 30, a DOH report showed that the RITM has conducted a total of 14,001 tests. It still has an inventory of 42,000 test kits.

San Lazaro and UP-NIH have conducted 65 and 143 tests, respectively, and were still capable of conducting 4,932 and 4,861 tests, respectively.

The VSMMC in Cebu City has conducted 387 tests. It still has an inventory good for 24,396 tests.

For Cordillera, the BGHMC has conducted 162 tests and is still capable of doing 4,937 tests.

In Iloilo, the WVMC has done 173 tests. It has an inventory good for 4,843 tests. The WVMC, however, is still not accredited as a Covid-19 laboratory.

As of March 31, 2020, the DOH said the WVMC is still in stage 3 of the accreditation process, which entails training of its personnel who will operate the laboratory.

The hospital has sent a few personnel to the RITM for this required training.

In Davao, the SPMC has conducted 406 tests and is capable of conducting 4,000 more tests.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire has repeatedly said that a patient may need at least two or three more tests.

In areas where there are no accredited subnational laboratories, a patient would need to undergo at least two tests.

If found positive after the first test, the patient would need to undergo a confirmatory test to be conducted by the RITM or its accredited laboratories.

Those found positive for the novel coronavirus, which is formally known as Sars-CoV-2, will need to undergo more tests until a negative result is obtained. Only then can a patient be cleared and discharged from the hospital.

As of March 31, accredited laboratories that are allowed to process and test samples from patients are BGHMC, San Lazaro Hospital, VSMMC, SPMC and UP-NIH.

Fifty other health facilities, aside from the WVMC, have started the accreditation process.

The Lung Center of the Philippines, meanwhile, is undergoing proficiency testing. This means it can accept samples for processing, but these will still have to be validated by the RITM. It may proceed to full scale implementation one five samples that yielded positive results are confirmed by the RITM. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)