Lanao del Norte’s COVID-19 testing center to open soon

LINAMON , Lanao del Norte (MindaNews / 13 September) – The province of Lanao del Norte will soon operate its COVID-19 testing center after it was given the green light by the Department of Health’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM).

Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo on Saturday said the Molecular Biology Laboratory in Kapatgan, Lanao del Norte, was given its license to operate after passing the  Proficiency Test for detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, through real-time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), the gold standard in COVID-19 testing.

Lanao del Norte”s COVID-19 testing center in Kapatagan town. Photo courtesy of the Province of Lanao del Norte FB page

In a telephone interview on Sunday, Lilibeth Galbines, Testing Laboratory Chief Medical Technologist, said they hope to receive the copy of the License to Operate from the Department of Health’s central office on Monday, September 14.

Galbines said the operations will start “as soon as Governor Dimaporo will give her official go signal to start the laboratory testing.”

At present, swab tests conducted in the province have to be sent to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City for  RT-PCR testing.

Dimaporo had earlier said the facility was “conceptualized in a meeting with the DOH as early as March, was completed in August and inspected and evaluated.”

She said the testing center costs 30 million pesos and was funded out of the Bayanihan Grant for Provinces. The province received 60.2 million pesos representing half-a-month’s Internal Revenue Allotment share.

The COVID-19 Testing Laboratory is the only Molecular Biology Laboratory in Northern Mindanao solely financed by the Provincial Government.

Dmaporo said the testing center will help the province prevent the spread of the disease through early detection of suspected individuals and isolating those who will test positive.

Lanao del Norte recorded 358 COVID-19 cases including 208 recoveries and two deaths  as of September 12, according to the regional DOH.  (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)