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Parañaque launches mass testing 

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Parañaque City is hiring health workers to augment its frontline personnel to enable the city to start mass testing for Covid-19.

The city will also open more isolation facilities to handle an expected increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases as a result of the expanded testing regimen.

Mayor Edwin Olivarez said the mass testing will start on Monday (April 20) at an initial three testing sites, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of rapid testing kits that were donated to the city government.

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“This is a very welcome development in our fight against COVID-19 because this will enable us to identify possible cases for early isolation and help curb the spread of this deadly disease,” Olivarez said.

The mayor said the additional hiring of more doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and IT personnel, among others, should help beef up the City Health Office in its efforts to contain the pandemic.

“Before, the lack of test kits hampered us from performing enough tests.With the new FDA-approved rapid testing kits, additional personnel and isolation facilities, we hope to ramp up our capability to at least 200 tests per day.” Olivarez said.

City Health Officer Dr. Olga Virtusio said the rapid tests will allow the early isolation of possible cases prior to confirmatory tests using PCR testing in a tertiary institution like the RITM.

She said there are around 200 suspect cases in the city and the initial mass testing will be able to cover them. The tests will then expand to vulnerable populations like senior citizens, pregnant women, and those with co-morbidities, and eventually to the general population.

“Hopefully, by the second week (of mass testing) we shall already be able to do tests on the general population; this will greatly enhance our capability to reduce transmission,” Virtusio said.

Dr. Virtusio added that they will designate separate testing areas for the general population and for suspect cases.

The city government will open additional isolation facilities, including one at the Ospital ng Parañaque, plus four others being established in separate public schools this coming week.


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