Valenzuela City starts mass testing for COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — The city government of Valenzuela on Saturday announced that it will start its mass testing for persons under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM) for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a press conference, Valenzuela City mayor Rex Gatchalian said those initially targeted by the mass testing are the city’s record of 242 PUIs and 295 PUMs, as well as the frontliners and returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)
The local government has partnered with The Medical City — who received a Stage 5 level accreditation from the Department of Health to conduct confirmatory COVID-19 tests — for the mass testing.
“In our agreement, they’ve reserved 25 tests per day, that’s a minimum. But it is also said that it may be expanded, depending on first come, first served and availability, meaning it can be 50 if they don’t have too much to process that day,” Gatchalian said.
City pathologist Dr. Amelia Fibran said that the Medical City has a turn around of two days after the samples have been submitted.
“The process now in this examination is that we schedule patients who should be swabbed for today, and I have a total of 30 swabbers who can do the swabbing. So they go on a regular shifting schedule,” Fibran said.
The FDA-approved test kits that will be used, Fibran said, are developed from South Korea.
Asked why they did not opt to use the test kits made by the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health (UP-NIH), Fibran answered: “Because the NIH kits are still in the process of further studies, although they have been approved by the (Food and Drug Administration) already, so we have to be very careful with the selection. And we have already bought these kits before the NIH kits were already FDA-approved.”
“The beauty of this mass testing is that you control the pace,” Gatchalian said of the mass testing.
“The government owns the test kits, we can come up with our own protocols based on the national framework. Because the guarantee is two days turnaround, mabilis siya kasi anxiety level ng tao pwede mawala (It’s fast because the anxiety levels of the person can go down), in 48 hours, we can give you your test results,” he added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.