Taguig rolls out drive-thru and barangay-based testing for COVID-19

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2020 01:04 PM | Updated as of Apr 22 2020 01:23 PM

Barangay-based testing for COVID-19. Photo from I love Taguig Facebook page

MANILA - The local government of Taguig opened on Wednesday two drive thru testing areas for residents who may have symptoms of COVID-19.

"We're excited to roll out the plan when it comes to mass testing. Yung drive thru malaking maitutulong sa mga kababayang may access sa sasakyan," said Mayor Lino Cayetano on ANC.

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Cayetano said residents need to do self-assessment online where their answers will be evaluated by a doctor and the results will be sent back to them.

"You will get a reply and a number when you drive thru our tents. Yung numero ipapakita mo and you will be tested," he said.

Drive-thru testing centers are located in Taguig Lakeshore in Barangay Lower Bicutan and in Bonifacio Global City.

"Part of the smart system framework those who need to be tested will be tested and we want to test as many people as possible," he said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Taguig's drive-thru COVID-19 testing "comes as a complete package."

"It's going to be a role model if resources will be sufficient and if the protocols will be followed and if they are using the gold standard testing. This has to come in a complete package and not just a drive-through mechanism," Vergeire said.
 
The local government unit has already tested over a thousand residents, said Cayetano. 

"But to expand it doon sa phase 2, we are bringing it down to the barangay. Para ma-test ang lahat ng ating kababayan kailangan yung testing ibaba na sa health centers," he said.

He said 5 health centers in the city will also begin testing residents. 

"Kasunod nito meron tayong dalawang drive thru sites kung saan merong sariling sasakyang pwedeng dumaan at magpa-test," he said.

He added that Taguig is following the best practices framework where 5,000 to 10,000 people are tested for every 1 million population.

"Sa Taguig, were around 800,000 so were ready to test 10,000 people. Pag wala kayong sakit wag kayong magpa-test pero meron tayong mekanismo where you can do self-assessment," said the mayor.

COVID testing fees will be shouldered by the city government, he said. 

"Walang babayaran. We passed a P2.3-B supplemental budget, we will pay for all tests for Taguigeños who needs to be tested," he said.

Taguig currently has 197 positive and 1,125 suspected COVID-19 cases. It also prepared 5 quarantine facilities that can accommodate 300 patients.

Meanwhile, Cayetano said he is open to a total lockdown, if necessary, to keep people safe. 

"I believe this will be over in a matter of a few months pero kung 'di tayo disiplinado, if we don't work together, if we don't trust each other walang mangyayari," he said.