As the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continues to rise each day, the government—both national and local—is ramping up COVID-19 testing in the country. The Department of Health is accrediting more testing centers every day and is also purchasing more testing kits for use on both confirmed and unconfirmed cases. But it simply isn’t enough, which is why local government units have been taking matters into their own hands.
Local Mass Testing
Marikina City, headed by Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro, has opened its own testing center in Barangay Concepcion Uno. The facility is accredited by the DOH to perform COVID-19 swab testing and is classified as a Stage 4 laboratory based on biosafety levels.
All laboratory personnel of the center underwent a biosafety training conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and are now conducting free tests to its citizens.
Another city performing mass testing is Valenzuela City, headed by Mayor Rex Gatchalian. They have already inked three Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) with different laboratories to process the samples from their constituents. The city can now process over 100 tests per day.
More Testing Centers
Admittedly, accrediting more facilities for COVID-19 testing is the best solution to help control the spread of the disease in the country. This is why the government is targeting to accredit at least 66 facilities by May 31 to make it possible for 30,000 tests to be conducted daily.
Currently, the country has 36 accredited testing centers according to COVID-19 response deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon.
“The plan is to expand that further to 66 laboratories by the end of May. The priority would be in the islands of Visayas—Panay, Negros, and more in Cebu—because there’s a big infection prevalence there, and also in Eastern Visayas,” he says in a Senate hearing.
According to Dizon, they are also speeding up accreditation of laboratories in Mindanao so every region in the country would have more testing centers. “Right now, all the remaining laboratories to get us to 66 are already at stage 3 and stage 4, which would take anywhere between 2 and 3 weeks before they get accredited,” he explains.
To date, there are 13,221 cases in the country, with 2,932 recoveries and 842 deaths.