MANILA – The San Juan city government on Wednesday started free swab testing for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) among its residents.
San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora inspected the San Juan Gymnasium, which was converted into a testing facility, where the local government has initially mass targeted testing the health workers and other front-liners in the city.
“Kasama po sa mass testing ang close contacts ng mga nag-positive. Sa ganitong paraan mas mataas ang porsyento na yung mga posibleng merong Covid-19 ay natetest natin (Mass testing includes close contacts of those who tested positive [for Covid-19]. In this way, there is a higher percentage that those who possibly contracted Covid-19 will be tested)” he said, adding that healthcare workers and medical staff are regularly tested to ensure they are safe from the risks of the dreaded virus.
The testing facility can accommodate around 500 to 700 tests per day, he said.
“Our swabbers are from the city health office and those who are medically trained policemen and firemen,” he added.
The local government is prioritizing those who are symptomatic and other vulnerable individuals in the Covid-19 testing, Zamora said.
“Kapag sinabi nating mass testing, hindi ito bara-bara na kung sino-sino lang ang itetest natin (When you say mass testing, this is not like testing whoever we want to test). This is basically mass targeted testing,” Zamora said.
Meanwhile, Zamora said contact tracing will be for those who will test positive for the disease using a 1:37 ratio, “for every confirmed case, we have to trace the 37 of its close contacts.”
About 80 contact tracers, he said, have already been trained by the local government and the Department of Health (DOH) in the city.
Zamora said residents who wish to avail of the free swab testing should coordinate with their Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) or the city health office (CHO) and reserve a slot.
He reminded residents to reserve a slot first before going to the testing venue to avoid crowding of the people inside the gymnasium.
“Kapag hindi tayo mag-ayos ng schedule, dadami po ang tao dito at magiging delikado po para sa lahat. Kaya kinakailangang may schedule para masundan ang social at physical distancing (If we will not organize it by schedule, people will flock the facility and it will be harmful to all. We need to make a schedule to follow social and physical distancing),” he said.
Zamora laid down community quarantine protocols within the city during the general community quarantine (GCQ).
He said city ordinance No. 53 sets curfew hours from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. while city ordinance No. 54 prohibits the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages and other liquor products in public places.
“Ito’y ginagawa natin para siguraduhin na kakaunti ang lalabas ng kanilang mga tahanan (We are doing this to make sure that we can limit the people from going out their homes),” he said.
The local government will strictly impose measures on wearing of face masks, he said.
“Bawal po talaga ang walang mask so pasensya na kayo kung kayo ay huhuliin dahil wala kayong face masks (Not wearing a mask is prohibited so please be patient if you’ll be caught because you don’t have face masks),” he added.
Zamora urged residents to adhere to the national and local government’s preventive measures and health protocols.
He reiterated that employees and other workers in private companies have to use face shields and face masks within their workplaces and when riding public transportation.
“That’s the directive of the national government and we will impose that here in San Juan,” he said.
Zamora called on residents to comply with the policies of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
“Ngayon po ay QGC na ngunit hindi pa dahilan para maging kampante tayo at para hindi pa sumunod sa patakaran pamahalaang lokal at nasyunal (We are now in GCQ period but there is no reason for us to be complacent and not to follow the local and national governments’ policies),” Zamora said.
As of August 18, the city has recorded a total 1,494 confirmed cases (360 active cases) with 56 deaths and 1,078 recoveries. Lade Jean Kabagani / PNA – northboundasia.com