Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital | Image courtesy of PIA Palawan


Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital (CSGH) has been licensed by the Department of Health (DOH) coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests using its cartridge-based GeneXpert laboratory as the country continues to ramp up its testing capacity.

CSGH spokesperson Dr. Neal Torre told Palawan News on Friday that they have complied with all the DOH requirements and have been certified to become a RT-PCR lab.

He said they have complied with the area requirement for the laboratory in a building inside their hospital that needed to be renovated.

“May requirements sila like yong physical space, nagkataon lang na may part naman ng building dito sa hospital kailangan lamang namin siya i-renovate para mag-comply doon sa requirements. Hindi kasi sya basta-basta kasi may mga negative pressure na ilalagay, so inayos lang ang physical space para makapag-comply,” Dr. Torre said.

He said the GeneXpert machine was purchased by the DOH, while the sanitarium hospital augmented by acquiring other needed equipment.

Some of their staff and personnel underwent training seminars to be able to manage the COVID-19 testing laboratory.

“Ikalawa, yong mga equipment ay bumili rin yong hospital. Iba’t-ibang equipment na hinahanap ng DOH and then yong machine na GeneXpert ay nanggaling sa DOH. Tapos yong mga policies and procedures ginawa din yon ng laboratory, may mga documents silang hinanap sa amin and then yong training ng staff,” he said.

“Pina-train din yong staff ng hospital para makapag-comply din sa training requirements. So yon po, yong physical space, yong equipment and supplies, yong policies and procedures, at saka yong training. Tatlo sila nag-training, puro mga medtech, sila kasi ang tatao sa loob ng laboratory yong mga medtechs natin,” Dr. Torre added.

Dr. Torre said that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) personnel and officers of the DOH Licensing Division went to Culion earlier to inspect the CSGH.

He added that with the CSGH having its own COVID-19 testing laboratory, it would already be convenient for doctors in the Calamianes Islands Group to get the swab test results of their patients.

“Ito may RT-PCR na dito sa CSGH, hindi na kailangan ipadala yong samples doon sa ONP (Ospital ng Palawan), o kaya sa ibang lugar para magkaroon ng confirmatory testing. Mas convenient ito sa mga doctors na kailangan i-test yong kanilang mga pasyente mas madali rin yong pag alam ng mga pasyente kung sila ay confirmed positive or hindi,” he said.

“Yan ang kahalagahan ng ating GeneXpert laboratory dito sa CSGH. Medyo magiging mas mabilis ngayon yoong paglabas ng result ng mga pasyente,” Dr. Torre added.

Dr. Torre said the only time their RT-PCR GeneXpert laboratory requires to test swab samples is 48 hours. However, if the patient’s condition is severe or critical, they can rush to get results in 45 minutes.

“Yong official result ay puwede nang i-release within 48 hours kaagad. Kung yong pasyente ay urgent, halimbawa critical condition siya… severe critical condition siya at kailangang-kailangan na malaman kaagad yong result, maari namang mag-run kaagad yong laboratory natin ng test. Yong mismong magpe-perform ng test ay puwedeng mga 1-hour lang. Actually, 45 minutes lang yong actual na pagru-run ng test,” Dr. Torre added.

The CSGH is the third hospital in the MIMAROPA region that the DOH accredited to conduct RT-PCR tests using the GeneXpert.

The first was Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) in Puerto Princesa City and the second was at the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital.