Muntinlupa Molecular Lab to open next week, eyes processing of 100 COVID-19 tests per hour

Ospital ng Muntinlupa director Dr. Edwin Dimatatac (left) and Muntinlupa City Department of Disaster Resilience and Management chief Erwin Alfonso (center) inspect the Muntinlupa Molecular Laboratory located at SAGIP Building, near Ospital ng Muntinlupa, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang.

In a bid to strengthen the local testing capacity and COVID-19 response efforts, the local government of Muntinlupa is set to open its own Molecular Laboratory in Ospital ng Muntinlupa (OsMun) which is expected to process 100 tests per hour.

OsMun director Dr. Edwin Dimatatac reported to Mayor Jaime Fresnedi and Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade the status of the city’s Molecular Laboratory during a virtual meeting of the local COVID-19 Response Team last October 27.

Dimatatac said that the delivery of medical equipment is expected to be finished by the end of October and the laboratory will be operational next week. He noted that the laboratory can process 100 tests per hour and results may be released as early as six (6) hours. The hospital director noted that they are in close coordination with DOH for the laboratory’s accreditation.

Further, personnel to be assigned in the city’s Molecular Laboratory were already trained by the DOH and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). The laboratory is located at the Saklolo at Gabay ng Ina at Pamilya (SAGIP) building near Ospital ng Muntinlupa in Alabang.

DOTr Sec. Tugade vowed to assist Muntinlupa for the accreditation of the laboratory. Tugade noted that Deputy Chief Implementer against COVID-19 Sec. Vince Dizon committed to donate one RT-PCR machine to Muntinlupa’s Molecular Laboratory once the accreditation is approved by the DOH.

The additional equipment is set to double the laboratory’s capacity from 200 tests to 400 tests per day. Muntinlupa City aims to operate two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines at the laboratory which can process 500 to 900 samples a day.

Mayor Jaime Fresnedi says the construction of the Molecular Laboratory will augment the city’s detection-isolation-treatment strategy in curbing COVID-19. The local exec noted that while the City Health Office records improvement with COVID-19 cases, the local government will not be lenient in implementing health protocols and other programs.

A sharp drop of active cases was recorded in Muntinlupa from 768 cases in September 1 to 69 cases as of October 26. The city’s recovery rate has further improved to 95.25%, an all-time high since the start of the pandemic.

Muntinlupa City also earned the lowest prevalence among Metro Manila cities with a rate of 0.13. The city’s prevalence rate or the number of cases over the total population is below the ‘acceptable rate’ of 1.0.

As of October 26, the doubling time in Muntinlupa City is at 17.94 days. Doubling time refers to the number of days for COVID-19 cases to double in number and the standard rate of transmission should be at 7-30 days to be considered decelerating.

The City Health Office has also launched a mobile swabbing testing in coordination with barangay health centers. As of October 26, the local health office facilitated 19,307 swab tests equivalent to 3.57% of the city’s population. Muntinlupa surpassed the national target of testing two percent of the population.

Recently, the 144-bed quarantine facility “We Heal As One” COVID-19 patients and suspect cases was inaugurated in Pacwood Site, Barangay Tunasan through the efforts of the Department of Public Works and Highways in partnership with the local government.

DPWH Secetary Mark Villar, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Mayor Jaime Fresnedi led the blessing ceremony of the emergency quarantine facility amounting to P45-million last October 13.

During the program, Public Works Sec. Villar reported that an additional quarantine facility with 200-bed capacity will be constructed in the Filinvest Tent Parking Area.

Isolation Facility manager Dr. Juancho Bunyi said the We Heal As One Center in Tunasan is accommodating 22 COVID-19 cases (12 positive individuals and 10 probable cases) as of October 27. Occupants of the We Heal As One quarantine facility are given free medicine, food, and hygiene kits.

As of October 27, Muntinlupa City has 4,615 confirmed cases with 4,411 recoveries, 54 active cases, 150 reported deaths, 131 suspect cases, and 290 probable cases.

*Source: Public Information Office