BUTUAN CITY – A team from the central office of the Department of Health (DOH) arrived in Agusan del Sur on Wednesday to inspect the ongoing construction in the province of a molecular diagnostic laboratory for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), officials said.
The DOH team, led by Dr. Nestor Bonagua Jr., was accompanied by Governor Santiago B. Cane Jr. and other top officials of Agusan del Sur to the proposed site at the Provincial Health Office Compound in Prosperidad town.
“In this time of the pandemic, the establishment of such a laboratory is very important. Governor Cane is fully supporting this project,” Agusan del Sur provincial information officer Alfredo Plaza told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Wednesday.
The laboratory has a total budget of PHP17 million and can process specimens using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine, Plaza said.
“Testing of swab samples from Agusan del Norte and from other provinces in the region would take four to five days, considering the distance of the laboratories in Davao City,” he added.
Plaza said the laboratory’s construction began last week and is expected to be completed this October.
“The laboratory is expected to start its operation by December this year because of the installation of all the necessary equipment and apparatus after the completion of the building construction,” he said.
As of Tuesday, Agusan del Sur had 22 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 59 probable and 13 suspect cases, while Bayugan City had three confirmed infections with eight probable and four suspect cases. (PNA)