ILOILO City – Three weeks after WesternVisayas recorded its first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), theDepartment of Health (DOH) announced it was ready to conduct mass testing inthe region, but “at risk” people would be prioritized. * severeacute respiratory infection (SARI) Director Marlyn Convocar gave no exact date. Treñas lamented that although Region 6 alreadyhas test kits – at least 5,000 – WVMC can handle not so many specimens. Who are these people? * those withfever, cough and other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 especially if 60 yearsold or older, or if a woman in high-risk pregnancy The lone positive test result was a44-year-old male from La Paz district here. As this was being written, thisregion’s Patient No. 40 was confined in a hospital. For her part, Convocar announced that the WVMCtesting laboratory would be reinforced with addition Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines and additional medical technologists for themass testing. Aside from these, the Iloilo City Governmentwith the help of the business sector also purchased 2,700 test kits from South Koreaworth P5.5 million. He also wants more accredited medicaltechnologists to perform the test. He wanted to prioritize persons undermonitoring and persons under investigation, as well as healthcare frontlinerssuch as doctors and nurses, especially those who have close contact withCOVID-19 patients. As of yesterday, April 12, Iloilo City hadfive confirmed COVID-19 cases. A 44-year-old male from La Paz district was thelatest addition – an overseas Filipino worker. Specimens from these people would be analyzedat the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Mandurriao district here. “Our medical technologists are preparing to goon mass testing starting Monday,” Treñas announced in the city government’sofficial Facebook page on Saturday, April 11. “They are identifying the persons to betested,” according to Treñas. “We will try to have (an initial of) 100 sincewe only have six medical technologists,” said Treñas. Mayor Treñas had been pushing for additionaltesting machines at WVMC so the latter can analyze more specimens. On April 8, or 19 days after confirming Region6 first COVID-19 patient (a man from Bacolod City who had since recovered), DOHsaid its mass testing would commence “in a few weeks.” As of yesterday, Western Visayas had 40confirmed COVID-19 cases, six of whom recovered while seven died. * healthcareworkers According to DOH-6, on April 11 the WVMCtesting laboratory was able to release 52 test results; 51 of these were negativefor COVID-19. If the WVSU-MC laboratory is accredited forCOVID-19 testing, it and WVMC both could process more or less 500 specimens aday, said Treñas./PN * those withinfluenza-like illness (ILI) who have contact with probable COVID-19 case Treñas said he will also push for theaccreditation of West Visayas State University Medical Center (WVSU-MC) in LaPaz district as additional COVID-19 testing center in Region 6. Currently, the WVMC testing laboratory canprocess between120 to 200 specimens each day, said Concovar. It has also placed orders for test kitsdeveloped by the University of the Philippines. These are persons with the following: In this city, however, Mayor Jerry Treñasannounced that the mass testing would start today, April 13. The test kitscame from the DOH central office. Each test kit can test 22 specimens for atotal of 110,000 for the whole region. “We want mass testing. However, we do not havethat capacity. Kinanglan we will haveto push for more PCR machines and more accredited med techs. The more we havethem, the more testing we can do,” Treñas explained.