In a statement, DOH 8 (Eastern Visayas) Assistant Director Exuperia Sabalberino said the laboratory has an automated extraction machine and an additional unit of a real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine, used in detecting the actual presence of the virus.
“Without the machine, an extraction process takes four hours. Since it is now automated, it only takes an hour. So, from a maximum of 93 tests per shift before, the laboratory can now run 500 to 700 tests per day,” Sabalberino said.
The health department appealed to local government units to augment their test kits in anticipation of more returning residents and repatriation of overseas Filipino workers.
“As of the moment, we have enough test kits, but we need to augment our supply for continuous and uninterrupted operation of our laboratory. The test kits are not available here and we don’t yet have a regular flight to Metro Manila,” she said.
On May 11, the state-run laboratory located at the old building of the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center has started performing Covid-19 tests after receiving its certification from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country, a total of 45 cases have been confirmed in Eastern Visayas, including 25 recoveries and zero death.
Of the total cases, 32 are from Samar, 11 from Leyte, one from Northern Samar, and one from Biliran province.