Red Cross to build COVID-19 lab in Passi City to boost Western Visayas test­ing ca­pac­ity

Business World - - The Nation -

THE PHILIP­PINE Red Cross (PRC) will set up a test­ing lab­o­ra­tory for coro­n­avirus dis­ease 2019 (COVID-19) in Passi City, the Iloilo pro­vin­cial govern­ment an­nounced Wed­nes­day. Iloilo Gov­er­nor Arthur R. De­fen­sor Jr. re­quested for the fa­cil­ity, cit­ing the need to in­crease the test­ing ca­pac­ity in the prov­ince and the Western Visayas Re­gion as a whole. Philip­pine Red Cross Chair and Se­na­tor Richard J. Gor­don, in a let­ter to Mr. De­fen­sor, said, “I am pleased to in­form you that PRC will es­tab­lish one in Passi City in our PRC Re­gional Lo­gis­tics and Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Train­ing Cen­ter to serve the ad­ja­cent prov­inces of An­tique, Ak­lan, and Capiz.” The lab­o­ra­tory is ex­pected to be op­er­a­tional within Oc­to­ber, with a ca­pac­ity of 2,000 tests daily. Mr. De­fen­sor, in a state­ment, said there is “a press­ing need to in­crease the test­ing ca­pac­ity of the prov­ince with the on­go­ing ar­rival of Re­turn­ing Over­seas Filipinos (ROFs) and lo­cally-stranded in­di­vid­u­als from Metro Manila and other high risk ar­eas.” The pro­vin­cial govern­ment is also build­ing its own lab­o­ra­tory at the Iloilo Pro­vin­cial Hospi­tal. Ex­ist­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries in the re­gion are lo­cated at the Western Visayas Med­i­cal Cen­ter and two pri­vate hos­pi­tals. “(T)hese are not suf­fi­cient for the re­quire­ments as we tran­si­tion to a new nor­mal,” Mr. De­fen­sor said. As of Septem­ber 29, Western Visayas recorded 11,413 COVID-19 cases, of which 4,161 are ac­tive. Ba­colod City has the high­est to­tal cases at 3,712, fol­lowed by Iloilo City with 2,264. There are 1,942 clas­si­fied un­der re­turn­ing res­i­dents, both lo­cally stranded and over­seas work­ers. The rest are in the fol­low­ing prov­inces: Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, 2,099; Iloilo, 826; Capiz, 348; Guimaras, 89; and An­tique, 40.

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