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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, March 26, 2020
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COVID-19 testing laboratory
for Western Visayas up: DOH


Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Iloilo City, a tertiary government hospital under the Department of Health, is now ready to accept coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) specimens, a health official said yesterday.

“We are happy to announce that WVMC is now ready to accept specimens for examination, before we used to send them to Manila and Cebu. We are assured of 5,000 test kits from Manila,” Regional Director Marlyn Convocar of the Department of Health in Western Visayas said.

Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said Negros Occidental has been sent 400 Department of Health swab kits to be used to get specimens from persons with suspected COVID-10.

The swabs can now be sent to Iloilo for testing instead of to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Metro Manila, he said.

The Bacolod City Health Office also said it was informed by the DOH that the new bio lab in Iloilo is now ready to operate. The DOH-Iloilo has enough test kits for 50,000 specimens for Western Visayas, it was told.

The WVMC immediately started to examine specimens yesterday.

“We should be thankful that Western Visayas has the capability to examine for us to know the real positivity status of Western Visayas,” Convocar said.

With the availability of test kits, she said, they will adhere to the DOH Decision Tool to test patients under investigation (PUIs) with severe symptoms, elderly and non-elderly with co-morbidity (other diseases).

“WVMC is the only sub-national reference laboratory (in Western Visayas) for now. It will cater to all specimens from Region 6,” she said.

As of Monday, Western Visayas already recorded 38,893 persons under monitoring (PUMs) and 211 PUIs. Out of the total number of PUIs, 79 are admitted, 63 are outpatients, 64 have been discharged and five have died.

The DOH said there are two other Covid-19 positive cases – a 61-year-old female patient from Iloilo City, and a 45-year-old from Jamindan, Capiz.

The new cases brought to four the number of positive patients in Western Visayas. The first two were from Bacolod City and Guimbal, Iloilo.

Dr. Jane Juanic, head of the infectious disease section of DOH6, said they have yet to receive the results of the specimens of the five PUIs who died.

She said the five who were labeled as PUIs sought consultation in health facilities when they were already in severe conditions and mostwere compromised elderly.

“Since there is a high index of suspicion and high probability of COVID-19 patients, we follow the proper protocol for the burial of COVID-19 patients,” Juanico said.

Meanwhile, apart from being a sub-national laboratory for COVID-19, the WVMC has been identified as the COVID-19 referral hospital for severe patients.

Those exhibiting mild symptoms will be referred to Western Visayas Sanitarium or provincial hospital of provinces where the patients came from.

“We will free the WVMC from non-COVID-19 patients and they will be brought to West Visayas State University Medical Center (WVSUMC),” she added.

The hospital has 150 nonCOVID-19 patientswho also will be transferred to the WVSUMC.*PNA


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