RITM okays COVID-19 testing in Northern Mindanao Medical Center

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 15 May) — The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) has given the green light to the Northern Mindanao Medical  Center (NMMC) to start testing their medical laboratory for COVID-19.

Dr. Bernard Rocha, NMMC spokesperson, said  experts from RITM will arrive next week to evaluate the performance of their laboratory staff.

NO ENTRY. Residents barricaded a road leading to Ramonal Subdivision in Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday, April 25, 2020 as news spread about the death of a COVID-19 patient nearby. Residents set up barricades at every street in Barangay Camaman-an overnight. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

“We secured our license just now and we are only waiting for the cartridges for the machine,” Rocha said, referring to the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) machine, the gold standard for COVID-19 testing.

Rocha said their laboratory can operate for 12 hours and can process results up to 36 swab samples per day.

He said the results can be known in 30 to 45 minutes.

Rocha said there will be two medical equipment available to process the COVID-19 tests once the Department of Health regional office will finish the conversion of their tuberculosis testing laboratory.

The city government of Cagayan de Oro had also purchased three RT-PCR machines to augment the laboratory at the NMMC.

Once operational, the NMMC laboratory will be the first medical facility to process COVID-19 swab tests in Northern Mindanao.

At present, only the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City has the capability to process the swab specimens from Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities. (Froilan Gallaro / MindaNews)