Hospital to get P20M for COVID testing biolab

Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City. (Photo courtesy of Mark Ramirez via Flickr)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Mayor Evelio Leonardia said Friday that the city government will release to the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) ₱20 million to build a biolab for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing.

The facility will cater to patients from Bacolod and from the province of Negros Occidental, according to Leonardia.

The city government initiated to partner with Dr. Julius Drilon, CLMMRH medical chief, who was also urging for the biolab project.

Considering the dire need for this facility, Leonardia felt he could no longer wait for the response of the Department of Health to his previous appeal for a biolab just like in the cities of Iloilo and Cebu.

Leonardia said he is confident that Dr. Drilon will take care of complying with all protocols on the project as well as installing the biolab at the CLMMRH within the next 45-60 days.

The decision was also made after Leonardia learned yesterday (April 2, 2020) in a phone call to Dr. Stephanie Abello, Chief Pathologist of the DOH biolab at the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City, that the facility is only able to process about 100 specimens during a 12-hour shift.

Even if that is doubled, the Iloilo biolab can handle only about 200 specimens in a day.

“If that Iloilo biolab is to serve the entire Western Visayas or Region 6, then that capacity is sorely inadequate,” Leonardia said.

He decided to immediately provide city funds to CLMMRH to help build another biolab in Bacolod City to increase the testing capacity for Region 6.

He expects other LGUs in the province and private donors to help purchase whatever test kits will be validated by the DOH as compatible with this biolab at the CLMMRH.

In the meantime, until this Bacolod biolab is up and running, Bacolod will continue to get its supply of swab test kits for specimen-collection from DOH-Region 6 for processing at the biolab in Iloilo, which is the current protocol.

The ₱5 million previously set aside for test kits will be used soon to purchase the test kits that are compatible with the machines in the Iloilo biolab and eventually for the Bacolod biolab.