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Mass testing crucial to economy

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Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro said the real challenge for the local government is to balance biosafety concerns and economic activity.

The mayor made the statement on Thursday, saying that mass testing is a must to address the ongoing problem of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Marikina City is one of the first to initiate the mass testing of returning workers as well as local government employees using rapid test kits.

Teodoro stressed that the real challenge now of the local government “is to balance biosafety concerns and the viability of the local economy, thus, making mass testing necessary.”

“I strongly believe that mass testing is a must to address the problem of COVID-19,” he said in a statement Thursday.

According to Teodoro, the mass testing being conducted by the local government is free of charge, saying that the move is a “good investment” for public health. He said it will be part of the city’s health services under the “new normal.”

“This is a good investment that should be made for public health which is imperative, necessary, and essential to address the problems of COVID-19,” he said.

As of May 27, Teodoro announced that only four out of the total 5,465 tricycle drivers in Marikina have tested positive for COVID-19 after undergoing a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test of the Marikina Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory.

PCR testing is considered as the “gold standard” for COVID-19 testing.

He said the local government has also already tested 4,312 workers from the shoe industry and 1,600 workers from various manufacturing factories in the city using rapid test kits.

Moreover, Teodoro said 1,997 frontline employees of the city government and 951 barangay employees such as tanods and barangay health workers were subjected to the rapid testing.

The mayor bared that only one worker from the shoe industry and one from the number of barangay employees tested were found positive in the rapid testing.

He also disclosed that six city government employees—a doctor and five sanitation workers—tested positive in the testing.

With this, he said Marikina remains to have a “very low” number of COVID-19 cases.

Teodoro noted the “crucial importance” of mass testing. He however stressed that testing is not a requirement to return to work as it is just a one of the strategies used by the local government in combating COVID-19.

He said the workers who would test positive for the disease will be immediately brought to a quarantine facility so they will be isolated and given supportive treatment.

“Through mass testing, we are able to establish a database to act on public health protocols and necessary interventions to avoid community transmission,” Teodoro said.

“We should test, treat and isolate, every case to break the chain of transmissions,” he added.

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