Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, with National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vivencio Dizon and Philippine Red Cross Chairperson Senator Richard Gordon, inspected today the designated southern sector swabbing center in the SM Mall of Asia Arena, the biggest among the centers previously inspected.
Said mega swabbing center has 72 testing booths that will be manned by a pool of health personnel hired by the Department of Health and the Philippine National Police medical staff. It is expected to add up to 1,500 tests in our country’s daily testing capacity.
“Having swabbing sites this big is really important in our fight against COVID-19. With its 1,000-1,500 daily testing capacity, we are assured that we have enough facility to test our returning Overseas Filipinos, and later on, those in their respective communities as we help their local government,” Sec. Duque said.
He emphasized, however, that the increase in specimen collection capacity must be matched with an increase in laboratory processing capacity. That is why, according to the Health Chief, the DOH has been ramping up its assessment and evaluation processes to fast track the accreditation of at least 61 laboratories nationwide, six of which are now in the level of proficiency testing and are expected to receive their accreditation certificate soon.
PRC Chairman Senator Gordon explained the importance of proper tagging and encoding of specimens and the personal information of the person being tested. According to him, the swabbers and the encoders, including the barcoders must all work together to ensure accuracy of data to ultimately avoid delay. The specimens collected, tagged and encoded from all the mega swabbing centers will be processed by the PRC.
“I’d like to congratulate Sec. Vince Dizon and Sec. Duque for acting very, very fast [in establishing these mega swabbing centers]. I’m thankful that because they have a listening ear, naisagawa natin ito,” said Sen. Gordon, expressing his thanks and optimism on the partnership of the government with PRC in this endeavor.