Malacañang’s Chief Testing Czar giving COVID testing kits to Bacolod

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Secretary Vivencio “Vince” Dizon, the Chief Testing Czar of Malacañang for anti-COVID measures, has promised the mayor to give the needed automated extractor kits this week.

“I will call RITM [Research Institute for Tropical Medicine] now, mayor. We are also going to Bacolod on Wednesday and will bring the necessary kits,” Dizon said in an email-reply to Leonardia Monday.

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The mayor wrote Dizon Sunday saying that Bacolod needs his help in “accessing these critical supplies, specifically the needed automated extractor kits, as the outbreak spreads rapidly in our city and province.”

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Dizon is one of the four anti-COVID czars designated by President Rodrigo Duterte in early July.

The three others are Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong as Chief Tracing Czar, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar as Chief Isolation Czar, and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo “Bong” Vega as Chief Treatment Czar.

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All four are under the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, led by Chief Implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

Leonardia said the City needs the Genolution extractor viral NA kits which are required to process specimens for RT-PCR Testing. “We all know that testing is a crucial strategy in the containment of the spread of the coronavirus,” he added.

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EXTRACTOR KITS

Leonardia said that last April, Bacolod had allocated P20 million for the establishment of a Level 3 Molecular Bio-Laboratory of Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH), which was inaugurated and started operating on 10 July 2020.

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Unfortunately, the mayor said, as of 20 August 2020— a month after it opened— the said biolab ceased accepting swab samples from the City Health Office’s (CHO) CESU (City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit) as it has ran out of automated extraction kits, according to Dr. Julius Drilon, medical center chief of CLMMRH, in an August 18, 2020 letter sent to Leonardia.

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The mayor said the CHO has since been sending its swab specimens to the molecular bio-laboratory of the Provincial Government at the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.

Leonardia also told Dizon: “When I received your text message that you have sent supplies, i.e. 10,000 extractor kits and 2,000 PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment), we again approached CLMMRH if we could already send specimens for RT-PCR testing. However, Dr. Drilon explained in a letter dated September 1, 2020 that the CLMMRH Molecular Laboratory is not equipped to process tests using the Nucleospin Extraction Kits that you sent thru the RITM.”

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Thus, the mayor has requested Genolution Extraction Kits from Dizon instead.

SPIKE IN CASES

Leonardia informed Dizon that the cases of COVID-19 in Bacolod City continue to rise, and this resulted to enormous public health concerns.

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“As of today, we have a total of 2,032 confirmed cases from only 385 same time last month, or an increase of 527 percent. We anticipate even more cases as we continue to do contact tracing and testing,” he said.

The resulting health crisis is also taking a toll on our medical professionals and health workers, he added.*/CITY PIO

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