FRONTLINE personnel of Parañaque City first took part yesterday during the launching of the city’s community mass testing as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city has surged to 366 as of April 19, based on a City Health Office report.
Mayor Edwin Olivarez said the mass testing has started at an initial four testing sites, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of rapid testing kits that were donated by a private company to the city government.
The new isolation facilities are located in four public schools: San Antonio High School, Dr. Arcadio Santos National High School both in Barangay San Martin de Porres; Parañaque City College in Barangay San Dionisio; and Parañaque National High School (Main) also in Barangay San Dionisio.
“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 city health office disclosed that there are around 466 suspect cases in the city and the initial mass testing will be able to cover them.
As of today, there are now 366 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city, with 24 deaths and 39 recovered patients, according to the health office.
Numbering about 285 health workers and other frontline personnel such as traffic enforcers and barangay officials were chosen for the first day. The tests will then expand to vulnerable populations like senior citizens, pregnant women, and those with co-morbidities, and eventually the general population.
“The city government will be expanding the mass testing program so that all that needs to be evaluated is given priority,” the mayor explained, adding that they are ramping up its capability to fight COVID-19 by putting up additional isolation facilities for suspect cases.
Olivarez said the mass testing is free but those who want to be tested need to sign up first so they can schedule and avoid long queues and crowds at the testing centers that could potentially cause the spread of the virus.
These new facilities have a total capacity for 88 patients, which will be in addition to the ten-bed evaluation and holding tent at the Ospital ng Parañaque grounds. It will allow the hospital to evaluate persons with COVID-19 symptoms in a more comfortable setting.
The testing centers are open from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Disinfection will be conducted at the testing centers on weekends.