MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said its second molecular laboratory in Davao City started operation on Feb. 22.
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP deputy chief for administration and concurrent Administrative Support for Covid-19 Task Force (ASCOTF), said the laboratory is for the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test of PNP personnel based in Mindanao.
He said facility, which is located at the Police Regional Office 11 headquarters in Davao City, can accommodate 170 tests per day.
“The instruction of our Chief PNP General Debold M. Sinas, is to maximize the RT-PCR daily tests in order to immediately respond to the health care needs of our personnel in Mindanao, especially those who were infected by the coronavirus,” Eleazar said in statement.
Sinas earlier assured a full support system to the health safety and medical needs of policemen, especially those who are deployed as front-liners in the government’s measures to protect the public from coronavirus infection.
Based on the ASCOTF data, a total of 34 PNP personnel were subjected to RT-PCR during the Davao City laboratory’s test run on Feb. 11 wherein one of them tested positive.
On the first day of the official opening of the molecular laboratory on Feb. 22, he said 84 more personnel underwent RT-PCR wherein three of them tested positive.
“Our molecular laboratory in Davao can conduct a maximum of 85 tests per run. And according to our Health Service personnel in Davao City, they will conduct two runs per day so that is equivalent to a maximum of 170 tests per day,” Eleazar said.
Brig. Gen. Luisito Magnaye, PNP Health Service chief, said the molecular laboratory in Davao City is manned by 17 personnel consisting of three medical technologists, one molecular pathologist, seven personnel who are tasked to conduct encoding and receptionists for specimens, and five more personnel who are performing the actual swab test.
Based on the latest data from ASCOTF, a total of 102,718 PNP personnel have been subjected to RT-PCR, which represents 46.9 percent of the PNP strength of 219,044.
Of those tested, a total of 11,083 of them have been infected by the coronavirus since last year, with 31 reported deaths. There were 29 additional coronavirus infections reported as of 6 p.m. Feb. 22.
Currently, there are 434 active cases of Covid-19 in the PNP. All of them are in PNP isolation facilities except for 11 who are confined in hospitals.
A total of 10,618 PNP personnel, on the other hand, were able to fully recover.
Last year, a molecular laboratory was set up at PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City for police personnel assigned in Metro Manila, which is tagged as the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The third molecular laboratory of the PNP based in Cebu City is expected to start its operation anytime. (with reports from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)