South Cotabato to buy 10,000 COVID testing kits

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 07 May) – The provincial government of South Cotabato is set to purchase at least 10,000 testing kits for the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as it plans to conduct random tests in parts of the province.

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. said Thursday the testing kits will be utilized at the COVID-19 laboratory that is being established at the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center (DAPPMC) in Koronadal City.

“We will purchase the test kits once we get final approval for the operationalization of the laboratory,” he told reporters.

The governor said they were only waiting for the accreditation of the laboratory, which will conduct Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR-based tests, by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

The provincial government had signed a memorandum of understanding with the DAPPMC, which is owned by the family of former governor Arthur Pingoy Jr., for the use of its laboratory for COVID-19 testing.

Tamayo said the hospital management volunteered the use of the facility and its manpower “at no cost” to the local government.

He said DAPPMC is one of only two hospitals in Region 12 or Soccsksargen with accredited biosafety level 2 laboratory. The other one is the DOH-run Cotabato Regional Medical Center in Cotabato City.

Tamayo said DOH Assistant Secretary Abdullah Dumama is currently following up the accreditation of the laboratory as a COVID-19 testing center.

Senator Christopher Lawrence Go and Health Secretary Francisco Duque have committed support to the move in a virtual conference on Wednesday, he said.

He said they expect to get an update on Thursday regarding the laboratory’s accreditation from Sec. Duque.

For the planned testing, the governor said they will maximize the use of the test kits along with the rollout of proper contact tracing system throughout the province.

He acknowledged that it was not possible for the provincial government to conduct mass testing but they will instead get a sampling to represent the whole province. (MindaNews)