Cebu falls below target as main COVID-19 test lab decontaminates

Sitio Zapatera in Barangay Barrio Luz with at least 9,000 residents is on lockdown after several residents were found out to be infected by Covid19. Photo by Gelo Litonjua/Rappler

The Cebu COVID-19 testing facility may stop to operate for a few days as its main testing laboratory undergoes decontamination.

Meanwhile, the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) subnational laboratory has reduced the size of its operation.

Addressing the situation, Department of Health-Central Visayas director Jaime Bernadas said two other accredited laboratories such as the ARC Hospital and TB Regional Laboratory will conduct COVID-19 tests.

The subnational laboratories with four machines can accommodate 80 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests daily while the two other labs have lower testing capabilities.

For now, it appears that the usual 200 tests per day targeted by the DOH-7 cannot be realized.

From 329 COVID-19 tests on May 13, it became 88 on May 14 and 28 on May 15 for the entire Central Visayas region.

Bernadas claimed that testing will be “back on track” after experiencing a backlog in two days.

With over 3.22 million residents, the entire Cebu province has a total of 11,792 tests, 1,536 of which came from Cebu City which has 1.01 million residents.

The government has expressed hope that the country can reach the targeted 30,000 COVID-19 tests daily by the end of the month.

In an earlier interview with CNN Philippines, Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the national policy against COVID-19, said the goal is doable with the help of the private sector.

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