PRC opens second COVID testing center

Richard Gordon

LESS than a week after opening its first COVID testing center to prevent the spread of the disease, the Philippine Red Cross on Tuesday opened its second testing center in its national headquarters on EDSA to ensure victory over the virus.

Senator Richard J. Gordon, PRC chairman and CEO, stressed the need to unmask the enemy by doing more tests to be able to provide cure for the infected people so that the country could move on.

“We do have a plan in the Red Cross to make sure that we are able to know the enemy. Napakahalaga na matanggalan ng maskara itong enemy na ito. We cannot win a war without knowing who the enemy is. Kaya from Day 1, inisip namin dito sa Red Cross -- magtesting. Once you do that, you can isolate, after tracing, of course, sino mga dinapuan niya. Then we can start healing, and we can start loosening up, makapagnegosyo tayo sa lalong madaling panahon. Kaya tumaya ang Red Cross dito ng katakut-takot,” he said.

Gordon said that with four machines, the new testing center can also run up to 4,000 tests per day, like the first facility, and will also be operated by 18 medical technicians working on a three-shift basis.

“Each machine is capable of running up to 1,200 tests, theoretically, but I’ll be happy with 800 or 500 in the beginning and when they become more proficient, dapat makakuha tayo ng at least 1,000 each machine per day. I’m happy na pinadalhan tayo ng RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) ng 1,000 samples. We were able to finish them right away,” he added.

The PRC chief also commended and expressed gratitude to local business groups, the Australian government, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other international organizations for their generosity which enabled the Red Cross to build the facilities.

Among the groups he cited were the Ayala Group of Companies, which also provided skilled manpower to retrofit the two molecular laboratories; Megaworld; Okada; Metrobank; Security Bank; Nestle: BPI; Puregold; Liwayway Corporations; Rebisco; Nickel Asia; and Bloomberry, among others.

“I can’t thank them enough and a lot of other people have donated, some in kind. We’re putting all the donations together. The Ayala Group, they were the ones who retrofitted the laboratories. They put in their construction people, who are quite good in putting all the equipment together, including the negative pressure. This one was completed in five days,” Gordon said.