SPMC to increase daily virus tests to 1,000

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 06 June) – The government-run Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) is expected to increase its daily number of tests for COVID-19 to between 800 and 1,000, newly-appointed Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said.

UP Mindanao chancellor Larry Digal (R) and Dr. Leopoldo Vega (L), chief of the Southern Philippines Medical Center sign the Memorandum of Agreement for the Joint Intensive Training Program on SARS-CoV-2 Molecular Diagnostics, at the SPMC on 26 May 2020. Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Mindanao director Dr. Lyre Anni Murao (standing, L) and SPMC chief training officer Dr. Maria Elinore Concha witness the signing. Photo courtesy of UP Mindanao

Vega said in a text message that SPMC has four new polymerase chain reaction machines, which would boost its laboratory’s current capacity of 200 tests daily.

Two of the machines came San Miguel Corporation and the other two from the Ayala Group of Companies.

“We have just installed and are waiting for consumables to make them operational,” the official added.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte appointed Vega, the SPMC chief of hospital, as new Health undersecretary on Friday.

Vega’s appointment came amid the controversy surrounding the delay in the release of benefits for frontline health workers who got infected or died due to COVID-19.

Asked if he would continue to head the SPMC in concurrent capacity, he said he has no details yet. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)