DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Southern Philippines Medical Center announced on Monday an increase of their testing capacity for COVID-19 cases with the addition of two Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) machines and one automated extractor.
The two testing machines were donated by San Miguel Corporation.
“We can process times three than the original number that we have before. The test output will increase,” said SPMC Chief of Medical Professional Staff Dr. Ricardo Audan.
While the center is waiting for the installation of the machines, Audan admitted that there is a backlog in testing in SPMC due to the limited supply of extraction kits.
The SPMC is the main testing center in Davao Region for COVID-19 and accommodates other regions in Mindanao that still have no testing centers.
Meanwhile, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has announced that there are priorities and criteria in terms of who should be tested.
“At present, testing is limited and the priority is individuals with exposure to COVID-19 positive (and) symptomatic patients without exposure and symptomatic individuals,” she reiterated.
Duterte-Carpio said that testing may reach 1,000 daily if machines donated from the Ayala Foundation becomes operational.
The City Government of Davao has devised a health screening and use of rapid tests in its community case finding for individuals in high-risk areas and upon seaports, airports, and land checkpoints upon entry to Davao City.
She added that the health screening of the city is not only subjecting the person to a rapid diagnostic test but also checking if a person has symptoms of cough or colds, and documenting their contact and travel history.
The mayor revealed that they are looking into another tool on the health screening procedure being done on checkpoints as the use of rapid diagnostic tests may not be sustainable.
“The cheapest Rapid Diagnostic test is Php 600. If we consume 10,000 tests a month, then divide it to 30 days, we only test 333 daily. With this, we will spend Php 6 million monthly. It is not sustainable,” she said.
As of May 25, the city has released an updated COVID-19 risk assessment map which classified Barangay 23-C (Mini-Forest), Agdao Proper, Bucana, Buhangin Proper Cabantian, Leon Garcia, and Talomo Proper as very high-risk barangays. (davaotoday.com)