Mon, 01 Jun 2020

CRMC assures on operating biosafety COVID-19 lab

Philippine Information Agency
23 May 2020, 04:38 GMT+10

COTABATO CITY, May 22 (PIA) - The Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) here is assuring the public that in line with the hospital's accreditation as licensed Clinical Laboratory for COVID-19, the facility will uphold the highest standard in biosafety and biosecurity in the laboratory.

Dr. Helen Yambao, CRMC's chief of hospital, said the laboratory will not emit COVID-19 infected air from inside because the air is already filtered through the negative pressure system.

"I would like to tell you that one of the requirements for being a sub-national laboratory for COVID-19 testing is to be a Biosafety Laboratory 2 and this is equipped with a negative pressure airway system," she stated.

Dr. Yambao also emphasized that the Department of Pathology, through the head of the Molecular Laboratory Dr. Sherjan Kalim, will see to it that biosafety and biosecurity is enforced.

It can be noted that the Department of Health, through the Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau, recently issued the CRMC license to operate as Clinical Laboratory for COVID-19.

This comes after the Department of Health (DOH) Central Office accredited CRMC to perform Rapid Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests using the GeneExpert machine that is also used for testing tuberculosis.

Yambao also noted that the CRMC will only accept specimens of suspected COVID-19 patients from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and Region 12.

"We are not going to accept specimens from walk-in patients to CRMC or directly referred by LGUs, hospitals and clinics. Only specimens from suspect or probable COVID-19 cases are accepted, and priority testing will be done in those critical cases and repeat tests for monitoring of COVID-19 positive cases," Dr. Yambao added.

The laboratory is open and accepts specimens from the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) from 8 am to 5 pm daily, including weekends and holidays.

Yambao said the laboratory has 1,134 test kits, having a maximum testing capacity of 72 specimens per day. (LTBolongon-PIA Cotabato City)

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