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Ilocos Norte now has COVID-19 lab

by PGIN-CMO

Jun. 04, 2020 ...

The second Department of Health (DOH)-held hospital to be certified for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing in the Ilocos Region and the first to utilize GeneXpert technology, Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center (MMMH&MC) in Batac City can now offer COVID-19 testing.

"We had our GeneXpert already operational at MMMH&MC and we thank them. They have passed the Practical Competency Exam, accreditation, and training. They have already been certified by DOH so hopefully, it shouldn't take very long before they can start testing," remarked Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc in his latest press briefing. 

Notably, the GeneXpert technology got accredited before the laboratory's Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine.

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) through the leadership of Gov. Marcos Manotoc shared almost Php 5 Million for the procurement of molecular biology equipment to complete the laboratory.

"Most of it did come from us but some components came from the MMMH&MC: infrastructure, laboratory, and some of the parts of the setup. We financed most of it but it is not all ours," clarified Gov. Marcos Manotoc.

Meanwhile, a Memorandum of Agreement between PGIN and MMMH&MC sets the objectives and details of the partnership.

"The MOA made sure that we have access to it even in the future; if any of our hospitals want to use it, we can. We have complete access to it.

"Another was that tests coming from Ilocos Norte are prioritized. Even though we will accept the swab samples from others [provinces], they are secondary. It is really for the province," he elaborated. 

Gov. Marcos Manotoc also impressed on the testing protocol, saying:  

"Typically we will only test kapag may symptoms. Similar to before, MMMH&MC will swab but they cannot for anyone. You cannot just walk in and get a test. It is free but its not for public use. It [COVID-19 testing] is still targeted and specific."

The medical institution has likewise set up protocols for priority cases to test based on existing DOH guidelines.

Photo Credit: Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center-HEPO/Public Health Facebook Page