The Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City is now also conducting COVID-19 tests on residents of Bacolod City, former Rep. Alfredo Benitez, Negros Occidental economic consultant, said yesterday.
On Thursday, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said no agreement had been reached yet between the provincial and city government to allow for the testing of Bacolodnons at the TLJPH, which was only conducting tests for residents of Negros Occidental.
Bacolod is a highly urbanized city that is not under the Negros Occidental provincial government.
However, Dr. Marlyn Convocar, Department of Health 6 regional director, has issued an advisory that all COVID-19 tests for Negros Occidental and Bacolod City should be conducted at the TLJPH laboratory, Benitez said.
All tests for residents of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo province and Iloilo City will be conducted at the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Iloilo City, Convocar added.
Benitez said he informed Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday that Bacolod can now send its swab specimens for COVID-19 testing at the TLJPH.
The mayor wanted to know if the tests would be conducted for free like at the WVMC.
Benitez said he will work with the DOH and PhilHealth so that the TLJPH can be reimbursed for the cost of the COVID-19 tests.
“If not, I will pay for the tests for Bacolod residents,” he said.
Benitez donated PCR and automated extraction machines being used at the TLJPH.
The other PCR machine at the laboratory was purchased by the provincial government, while two others will be donated by the DOH, he said.
Leonardia said he was happy Benitez informed him of this development because it will mean faster release of COVID-19 test results for Bacolod residents.
Benitez said Leonardia also agreed that all Bacolod residents arriving on sweeper flights will be subjected to COVID-19 testing on arrival at the Bacolod Silay Airport.
That way, if there is a COVID-19 positive patient on the flight, contact tracing can be immediately conducted, he said.
Leonardia said they will send the Bacolod swab specimens to the TLJPH until the laboratory the city government helped fund at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital starts operations, which is expected sometime in July.
Benitez said he asked permission from the DOH to allow the unofficial announcement of TLJPH test results.
Under the present set up, six to seven signatures are needed before the DOH announces the test results, he said.
Benitez is asking that the province be allowed to make an unofficial announcement after the pathologist at the laboratory signs the result report.
The TLJPH laboratory can come out with COVID-19 test results in six hours, Benitez said.
He said tests will also be conducted on Bacolod and Negros Occidental passengers arriving on sweeper sea voyages.*
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