AgSur governor hopeful lab test facility to help contain spread of virus

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 21 January) – The opening of the COVID-19 molecular laboratory testing facility at the D.O. Plaza Memorial Hospital in this town will contribute to lessening the number of infections in Agusan del Sur, Gov. Santiago Cane Jr. said.

Cane said the facility can release test results within 24 hours.

The Agusan del Sur provincial capitol in Prosperidad. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Sixty-one swab samples tested at the laboratory on January 19 which yielded eight positive cases were processed for only seven hours.

Before that the provincial government hospital would wait for at three to four days to get the results from the laboratory at Butuan Medical Center in Butuan City.

“I certainly hope that early detection is vital in improving the chances of patients to survive,” Cane told MindaNews in an interview.

He said the use of QR code in contact-tracing complements the easier and faster tracking of residents suspected to have shown symptoms of COVID-19 illness.

“This to ensure that those found positive with the virus and their close contacts can be attended the soonest and put in quarantine/isolation facilities to prevent full-blown transmission,” he said.

The COVID-19 laboratory in the province is the fourth established in Caraga region following the Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City and Butuan Medical Center and MJ Santos Hospital in Butuan City.

“I believe it was good enough and the operations would eventually turn out even better in the coming days,” the governor said in his social media post.

The provincial government has been aggressive in testing residents of Agusan del Sur using COVID antigen testing process.

All employees at the Capitol were required to undergo testing.

Cane, however, said the province will do away with antigen tests once the supplies at the D.O. Plaza Memorial Hospital run out to avoid higher expenses.

For now, the laboratory is operating only one of the two COVID testing equipment, as the one donated by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte still has no laptop computer and software. (Chris V. Panganiban/MindaNews)