Valenzuela starts Covid-19 mass testing
Valenzuela City started the country’s first localized, targeted Covid-19 mass testing on April 11.
Mayor Rex Gatchalian said the city government started with the testing of its 537 PUIs and PUMs. Twenty-five persons will undergo testing per day and the turnaround time for the results to be released is two (2) days.
Depending on the availability, The Medical City (TMC), its partner hospital can expand the capacity to up to fifty (50) tests per day.
The City Government of Valenzuela and The Medical City signed a deal on the first public-private partnership (PPP) to conduct a COVID-19 mass testing on April 04, 2020.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Mayor Rex Gatchalian and the City doctors at the Valenzuela LGU have been working on the plan for weeks prior to the testing as it was known that TMC was still undergoing its Stage 5 accreditation from the Department of Health (DOH) before it can conduct its own testing.
But just days after the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), TMC’s laboratory was granted the Stage 5-accredited by the DOH on April 08, 2020 thereby allowing the hospital to start conducting confirmatory testing on possible COVID-19 positive patients and provide Valenzuela City the service of processing test kits using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine.
Elated in his Facebook post, Mayor Rex Gatchalian said “Our city can start na [now] its own localized targeted mass testing. Lahat po ng [All] PUI, PUM, OFW, frontliners at mga magpapakita po ng symptoms ay papatest natin ng libre [and anyone who will show symptoms will be tested for free! Start na po tayo [We can now start this Saturday! We hit the ground running!!!”
According to Dr. Amelia Fibra, City Health Pathologist, the kit they are using now is a commercial kit, developed in South Korea, validated and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Fibra said, compared to other test kits, those purchased by the city government can confirm the test result with only one (1) testing.
Fibra explained that in the usual COVID-19 testing there is a need to have two (2) of the three (3) genes before it can be said as positive.
“If there is only one gene determined you should have another test before you can say it is positive otherwise you have to repeat the swabbing but for the kit that we purchased, we already have three (3) target genes, therefore the result will be confirmatory already,” Fibra further explained.
The localized mass testing would enable the city government to target resources on communities with confirmed COVID-19 patients, the mayor said.
Those who were found positive but are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms will be housed in central isolation units prepared by the city government.
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