The Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban City was accredited as a level 5 laboratory on Friday, May 8.
Vince Dizon, deputy implementer for coronavirus policy, confirmed this during a press conference on Saturday, May 9.
The lab joins 22 other Level V accredited laboratories around the Philippines.
It is the first lab in the Eastern Visayas. Previously, swab tests had to be sent to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City.
This accreditation allows the regional laboratory to perform COVID-19 confirmatory tests by real-time PCR and release official results independently.
The operations center will help decongest the VSMMC’s backlog, where most of the samples come from Metro Cebu. Just last week, Metro Cebu started its targeted mass testing.
Dizon said they were trying to expedite the accreditation of a secondary lab to further increase testing capacity and speed in the Visayas.
The operations of the Eastern Visayas lab is expected to start next week.
The first coronavirus case was reported in the region on March 23.
As of Friday, May 8, there are 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Visayas.
The number of confirmed coronavirus patients in the country hit 10,610 as of Saturday, May 9. As of 4 pm, there are 147 new cases across the country, with 704 deaths, and 1,842 recoveries. – with reports from Ryan Macasero/Rappler.com