WVMC starts running COVID-19 tests

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Mandurriao district has finally started running the laboratory testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to cater the increasing number of patients under investigation (PUIs) in the region.

PUIs are persons with travel history from places with confirmed local transmission and manifested signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Dr. Jane Juanico head of the Infectious Disease Division of the Department of Health – Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) 6, confirmed that WVMC has started operating its COVID-19 testing center on Tuesday.

Juanico said it is currently being manned by two medical technologists from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) who arrived in Iloilo City recently.

“The testing started since yesterday and two medtechs ang naga-shifting subong,” she said.

According to Juanico, the WVMC laboratory testing can handle 30 to 35 specimens daily.

The results will be available in a span of one to three days, she said.

Naga-adjust pa ang personnel with their pacing but more or less, from specimen receipt to release of testing result is within 24-72 hours,” Juanico added.

WVMC will be the sole subnational laboratory in the entire region. It will also cut the time of sending the specimens from the region to and from Manila which usually takes about three to five days.

At the moment, WVMC has more than 500 testing kits, according to Dr. Marlyn Convocar regional director of DOH-CHD 6.

Convocar said they will prioritize testing patients under investigation (PUIs) with severe cases, immuno-compromised, and other vulnerable sectors.

Indi naton pagsayangon ang aton testing kits. Unahon naton ang mga immuno-compromised kag ang mga vulnerable sectors,” she said in an interview with a local radio station.

The regional director said 5,000 additional testing kits from Manila will arrive soon to augment the testing kits in WVMC in the next four months.

Meanwhile, the two medical technologists who were sent to Manila for training will also arrive in the city today, March 26. They will handle the testing center in WVMC.

As of March 24, four positive cases have been recorded in the region, according to the health department.

The number of PUIs in the region is at 211, including five who already expired without knowing their confirmatory results.