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Marikina's COVID-19 testing lab gets DOH accreditation

More than a month after setting up its first laboratory to test for COVID-19, Marikina on Thursday received its accreditation to conduct such tests using molecular diagnostic procedures.

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said he received a call from Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in the afternoon.

“Magkausap kami kanina Secretary Duque at binigay na sa akin 'yung accreditation ng DOH,” Teodoro said.

“Ang in-approve ng DOH para sa Marikina ay molecular diagnostic laboratory. ‘Yun ‘yung gold standard na,” he added.

Teodoro said their laboratory, which can process 200 samples daily, may begin testing on Friday with priority given to people with COVID-19 symptoms or a history of travel or exposure to confirmed cases.

The mayor also said that Marikina aims to meet the 1:10 ratio of the World Health Organization in testing.

“Sa sampung ite-test dapat ay isa lamang ang mag-positive. Mas magaling kung zero, ‘yun ang target natin,” he explained.

Marikina has reported 109 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 22 recoveries and 18 deaths as of Thursday afternoon.

Over a month of delay

On March 19, Teodoro first announced that Marikina’s COVID-19 testing center was set to be launched in a few days.

However, an inspection by the DOH found that the laboratory fell short of biosafety standards due to its location. 

Teodoro earlier expressed frustration at the bureaucratic bottlenecks that he said were stalling the launch of their testing center and offered the DOH full control of the laboratory in order for testing to begin at the soonest possible time. 

On April 14, the DOH said Marikina’s laboratory personnel had yet to undergo the required training due to scheduling constraints.

The DOH had also reported that Marikina needed to retake the proficiency test, Stage 4 of the five-step accreditation process, in order to become certified. 

After a visit to the testing center following complaints of the DOH’s alleged snail-paced accreditation, Duque said the Marikina laboratory was “one of the best” he had seen.

Quarantine facilities

Meanwhile, Teodoro said they have also begun establishing temporary quarantine facilities to lighten the load of the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center.

“Meron tayong mga 100 rooms na tinatayo ngayon dito as extension nitong ating medical center sa Marikina,” he said.

“Ang purpose talaga ng testing ay mabigay natin ‘yung kailangang supportive treatment para hindi mag-deteriorate ‘yung kalusugan,” Teodoro added. -NB, GMA News