AFTER opening a COVID-19 testing center in its national headquarters on EDSA to help prevent the spread of the disease, Senator Richard J. Gordon, Philippine Red Cross chairman and CEO, on Sunday announced that several other PRC testing centers are now under construction and are set to open soon.
“The PRC is working very hard, round the clock, and with only 1/3 of our people able to come to work, to keep our testing center up and running and to keep setting up new ones. We are going to open about 20 laboratories throughout the entire country,” he said.
Gordon said that after the opening of the first testing center, which went into operation early this week, another laboratory, which is capable of doing 4,000 tests a day, is set to be opened within a week.
He also disclosed that another testing center in the PRC’s former national headquarters in Port Area, Manila is set to be opened soon after the opening of the second laboratory in EDSA.
“In Metro Manila, we have the equivalent of six laboratories that can produce, hopefully, at most 12,000 tests a day and 9,000 tests a day. As we speak, we are already operating the testing center right here at the building. Right now, we are doing the backlog from the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine), because many of them (RITM staff) have fallen sick. I really take my hat off to those people who have been working really hard,” the PRC chairman said.
“We’re opening up, maybe tomorrow evening, the second laboratory here, which is capable of doing 4,000 tests a day. As I speak, there are about 15 med-techs in the other building being trained to use the machines. And then there’s another one in the old Red Cross headquarters in Port Area, Manila. We will open that in a couple of days after we open the other one here on Tuesday. That will also be an opportunity to send another 4,000 tests a day,” he added.
Gordon also said that aside from that, four other testing centers are already under construction in Subic, Clark, Batangas and UP Los Banos and more testing centers will be opened in the North, the Visayas and Mindanao.
“Then we’ll go to the Visayas and the Northern Mindanao areas. We’ll start with Cebu first and we’ll start with Zamboanga in Mindanao then we’ll go Cagayan De Oro, GenSan and Surigao. And then in the Visayas, we’ll have Negros Island, Panay Island and Leyte and Samar,” he disclosed.
“That should really be able to allow us to isolate the cases and make sure that they can be treated and recover faster. We cannot beat this unless we unmask the invisible enemy and we can only do that by testing. And you can separate them, isolate them and you start treating people. The focus must be victory against the virus,” Gordon stressed.