MAKATI City Mayor Abby Binay announced that the city is planning to conduct free mass testing for persons with symptoms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as well as asymptomatic frontliners to detect, isolate, and treat those who have contracted the virus.
Mayor Abby said the city will sign a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Red Cross for the mass testing of persons under investigation (PUI), persons under monitoring (PUM), and frontliners.
“You have to remember the priority of DOH (Department of Health) are those who have COVID-19 symptoms. So we will be testing, on our part. We will be testing our frontliners who do not have symptoms. We need to make sure that they are not sick,” Mayor Abby said.
Mayor Abby noted that it is important to test the frontliners since they have direct contact with patients and they are vulnerable to contracting the disease.
She said the city will use the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test since it is more reliable than the rapid test according to health researchers.
“It (rapid test) is not that conclusive. Even if you test positive, you will still have to do a PCR test. So it will cost you more, because you now have to do two tests. You have to do the rapid test and the PCR test. And even if you are negative, you still have to do the quarantine, because it is possible that the antibodies have not developed fully and were not detected by the rapid test kits,” she explained.
Mayor Abby said the city will ink an agreement with two laboratories, including Red Cross, to mass test at least 2,000 persons by April 30.
At present, the city has been sending test samples to Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa and San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.
The mayor said the city has been using its platform for contract tracing to isolate persons with COVID-19 symptoms.
“The nice thing about the platform that we were able to develop is that we can profile our PUIs and our positive patients,” she said adding the platform allows them to identify the age group, location, and mode of transportation of persons suspected of having the disease.
Earlier, Mayor Abby said the city will shoulder the expenses for the cremation of residents who died due to coronavirus disease.