PROPOSED TEST LAB. The proposed Covid-19 testing laboratory inside the Samar Provincial Hospital in Catbalogan City. Governor Reynolds Michael Tan said on Wednesday (April 15, 2020) that they are pushing for the testing lab through a partnership with the Samar State University. (Photo courtesy of Samar Provincial Hospital)

TACLOBAN CITY – Samar’s provincial government is eyeing to establish a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) molecular testing laboratory in the province.

Governor Reynolds Michael Tan said in a phone interview on Wednesday that they are pushing for this plan through a partnership with the Samar State University in Catbalogan City.

As part of its preparations, key officials of the Samar Provincial Hospital toured the future regional Covid-19 test laboratory at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) in Tacloban City.

Tan said the plan would go through the tedious process carried out by the Department of Health but they have been doing their best to make it happen.

Samar has recorded three confirmed Covid-19 patients since the start of the pandemic.

Two of them, both employees of a community hospital in Tarangnan town, are still at the EVRMC while the first case, a doctor from Calbayog City, has already recovered.

The province has seven other suspected Covid-19 patients in hospitals.

The regional Covid-19 test center at the EVRMC has already completed its self-assessment and risk assessment and is awaiting the arrival of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) equipment to start its operation.

Currently, all swab samples from suspected Covid-19 patients in the region are sent to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu for testing.

Health officials have to wait for three days to receive the result.

The health department heavily relies on the availability of Air Force planes and vessels of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in transporting swab samples to the VSMMC. (PNA)