QC to conduct COVID-19 community-based testing next week
CALOOCAN CITY, April 11 (PIA)–The Quezon City government will begin community-based testing next week in a bid to reduce the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the city.
According to QC Health Department (QCHD) head Dr. Esperanza Arias, the city aims to conduct an initial 1,300 tests, with kits coming from the Department of Health (DOH), next week in areas that have the highest number of persons under investigation (PUIs).
“We need to flatten the curve by testing PUIs and putting them in one of our facilities while waiting for their results,” said Dr. Arias.
“We want to avoid a situation where the patient might infect a relative whose immune system is compromised,” she added.
The local government will obtain additional 1,500 test kits through its partnership with the Philippine Red Cross next week.
It is also in the process of procuring 10,000 swab kits and universal transfer mediums, where samples will be placed for testing.
Dr. Rolando Cruz, head of the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the QCHD, said people showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested.
“We will test people with cough and colds, influenza-like symptoms o mga tina-trangkaso, and acute respiratory infection,” said Dr. Cruz.
Testing centers will be equipped with swab booths that could provide protection for healthcare workers and help save on personal protective equipment (PPE) at the same time.
Samples will then be sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for testing, with results expected to be released in 2 to 3 days, said Dr. Arias.
“Sa ngayon, RITM lang ang nagra-run ng tests kaya it will take that long. Pero we are setting up partnerships with Red Cross, St. Luke’s, and the Lung Center,” said Dr. Arias.
If the partnerships with various hospitals are finalized, Dr. Arias said waiting time will be drastically reduced to about an hour.
“Those who have symptoms from urban poor communities as well as those who will be tested positive will be referred to our HOPE facilities,” said Dr. Arias.
Mayor Joy Belmonte said community-based testing is crucial in flattening the curve, in addition to social distancing and mass testing.
“If we can have all three things together, we can secure our city and protect the population from further contamination,” Belmonte said. (QC PAISD/PIA-NCR)