(SPOT.ph) Though the Department of Health announced in early April that mass testing in the Philippines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic would begin on April 14, no evidence of such widespread testing has been seen thus far. However, Valenzuela CIty was able to begin targeted mass testing last April 11—and it seems more local government units are starting follow suit. Today, April 19, Mayor Edwin Olivarez announced on his official Facebook page that mass testing in Paranaque will start on Monday, April 20.
According to Olivarez's post, the testing will begin with three testing sites—these sites are a result of the Food and Drug Administration approving the use of rapid testing kits that were donated to the Parañaque City Government. Along with the start of testing, the city also plans to hire more health workers (including doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and I.T. personnel) as well as to open more isolation facilities in response to the expected increase of COVID-19 cases to be brought about by the mass testing. "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," says Olivarez.
Parañaque City Health Officer Doctor Olga Virtusio notes that there are around 200 suspect cases in the city, which means the initial mass testing will be able to cover all of them. Once the suspected 200 have been tested, the tests will the expand to vulnerable residents of Parañaque such as senior citizens and pregnant women. Eventually, they hope to expand testing to the general population in order to contain the virus as best as possible. Virtusio states that they hope to already be tesing the general population by the second week of mass testing.
Main image from fernandozhiminaicela / Pixabay.