MANILA - Marikina City on Friday will start screening its residents for the novel coronavirus for free after the health department accredited its testing laboratory following weeks of delay, Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said.
The testing starting at 8 a.m. will prioritize residents with symptoms of and exposure to carriers of the disease, and frontliners, medical workers and local officials in charge of handing out cash aid, said Teodoro.
The city government will waive for residents the testing fee, which usually runs from P3,500 to P5,000 at private facilities.
Neighboring towns and cities can also use the laboratory for free if they provide their own test kits.
"Tingin ko malaking tulong ito para doon sa mga marginalized nating kababayan, iyong mga walang-wala na tipong hindi makapagpagamot, makapagpakonsulta dahil nag-aalala, walang pambayad," he told DZMM.
(I think this will be a big help to our marginalized compatriots who cannot get check-ups, consultations because they're worried that they cannot afford it.)
The Marikina government has 8,000 to 10,000 test kits from the University of the Philippines-National Institutes for Health, which also helped develop the P3.8-million laboratory.
The lab's machine can process 98 specimens per 2 to 3-hour run, said Teodoro.
Residents may call hotline 161 to consult city doctors, who will determine whether or not authorities should collect their samples for testing, he added.
Marikina has 103 COVID-19 patients so far and the tally could spike with its mass testing, said the mayor.