MANILA - Parañaque City will begin its mass testing for COVID-19 on Monday as its mayor announced Sunday the hiring of additional health workers.
Mayor Edwin Olivarez said the city will start conducting tests for the new strain of virus in 3 sites using rapid testing kits donated to the city government and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
He said more isolation facilities will also be opened to handle the expected rise in COVID-19 cases due to the expanded testing.
One of the facilities will be situated at the Ospital ng Parañaque, whole 4 others will be built in public schools during the week.
“With the new FDA (Food and Drug Administration)-approved rapid testing kits, additional personnel and isolation facilities, we hope to ramp up our capability to at least 200 tests per day," Olivarez said in a statement.
The rapid tests will allow the early isolation of some 200 suspect cases in the city prior to their confirmatory tests, which will be done using polymerase chain reaction kits, according to City Health Officer Dr. Olga Virtusio.
"Hopefully, by the second week (of mass testing) we shall already be able to do tests on the general population. This will greatly enhance our capability to reduce transmission,” she said.
After testing the estimated 200 suspect cases in the city, those in the vulnerable populations, like senior citizens, pregnant women, and those with comorbidities, will then be covered for testing.
As of Saturday, the city has recorded 348 cases of COVID-19, with 27 recoveries and 16 deaths, according to the Department of Health.
In total, the Philippines has 6,087 cases of the respiratory illness, including 516 recoveries and 397 fatalities.
Manila and Quezon cities were among the localities in the region that began targeted mass testing last week.
Metro Manila and the entire Luzon, home to about half of the country's 100 million people, is under lockdown until April 30 to contain the pandemic.