Valenzuela City begins COVID-19 targeted mass testing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 11) — Valenzuela City kicks off its own localized targeted mass testing for the coronavirus disease on Black Saturday.

The local government has partnered with The Medical City, which has been given the green light to conduct confirmatory COVID-19 tests after receiving a Stage 5 level accreditation from the Department of Health.

The city currently has 39 confirmed cases, with 537 persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs).

In a virtual media briefing on Saturday, Mayor Rex Gatchalian said they can conduct 1,000 tests a week using the test kits that can be processed with polyamerase chain reaction (PCR) machines.

Gatchalian said their goal is to finish testing all PUIs and PUMs on April 30, the scheduled end of the extended enhanced community quarantine.

“At the end of 20 days, we should have a clearer idea as to how many positives there are in the city. Then yung numbers natin ng PUIs and PUMs will be drastically lower – very very low and baka zero na kasi na-test na sila lahat,” Gatchalian said.

The mayor said test results will be available in two to three days. By knowing the actual status of PUIs and PUMs, Gathalian said they can then decide on whether to remove the lockdown currently imposed in some barangays.

“So in 48 hours if we know that they’re negative, we remove the lockdown we can divide those resources somewhere else and we don’t have to keep delivering food packs to them kasi they can already take care of themselves,” Gatchalian said.

According to city pathologist Dr. Amelia Fibra, in PCR tests, three genes of the virus need to be present in the sample to confirm that the subject is positive for COVID-19.

The city government said each test will cost ₱5,150, with ₱2,150 as the price of processing the result. Gatchalian said the price is based on World Health Organization estimates.

Aside from PUIs and PUMs, the city will also prioritize the testing of health care workers and returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).