MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday officially opened its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing center after getting accreditation from the Department of Health (DOH).
PNP chief, Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, together with other police officials, led the blessing of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing facility at the PNP Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame.
The facility will operate on limited capacity of 150 tests per day. This, however, can be improved in the coming weeks through the use of an automated system in response to the emerging number of police front-liners who have been infected with Covid-19.
“Complimenting on our initial initiatives to mitigate Covid-19 cases among our ranks by distributing PPE sets (personal protective equipment), conducting training, disseminating best practices in biosafety, and supportive healthcare. This facility further contributes to our efforts to have a self-sustaining capability in addressing Covid-19 cases within the PNP organization,” Gamboa said in a statement.
He also noted that the move to establish a fully operational testing center aims to fast-track the results of each test of police personnel.
“With this testing facility, we can aggressively push for testing so that we can locate, isolate and care for Covid-19 carriers and those who are sick in order to keep our PNP offices and community safe enough to resume a level of responsive operations and normal economic activities. In so doing we strike a fine balance between ensuring public health and safeguarding PNP personnel’s well-being,” he added.
On May 13, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine certified the PNP’s Covid-19 testing facility as an independent testing center. It got its license to operate from the DOH on May 22.
Meanwhile, PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the testing facility will prioritize police officers considered as probable and suspect cases, particularly those assigned in Camp Crame, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and other neighboring provinces.
“Uunahin natin dito ‘yung police front-liners natin na kabilang sa category na probable at suspects na mga patients. Kaya natin sila inuuna upang mabigyan natin sila ng pagkakataon naman na maka-fully recover at mabigyan ng karampatang (We will give priority to our police front-liners who are included in the category of probable and suspect patients. We are doing this to give them an opportunity to fully recover and give them due) medical assistance,” Banac said.
The PNP will also establish testing centers in Visayas and Mindanao regional police offices.
Aside from establishing a testing center, a mobile swabbing hub will also be opened in the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) headquarters in Taguig City.
About 13 personnel will be assigned at the new testing facility, consisting of seven personnel from the PNP Crime Laboratory and six from the PNP Health Service (PNPHS).
As of Tuesday, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the police force has reached 281.
PNP Health Service director, Brig. Gen. Herminio Tadeo Jr. said 117 police personnel have recovered from the infectious disease under strict observation of PNP doctors while the death toll remains at four.
The PNPHS is also monitoring 739 probable cases and 594 suspect cases.
Tadeo said some 1,890 personnel PNP personnel have completed self or home quarantine under strict monitoring and medical observation. (IA/PNA)