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Valenzuela City to start mass testing; Marikina City to make mass testing free for all, even outsiders

The city’s testing center recently received a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine from Manila HealthTek Inc.

Upon the completion of the COVID-19 laboratory in Marikina City, people who need to be tested will be given the opportunity at no charge.

Manila HealthTek Inc. has formed a temporary coalition with the city government to make this possible for the people.

The city’s testing center recently received a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine from Manila HealthTek Inc.

Mayor Marcelino Teodoro predicts that up to 300 tests can and will be done due to the number of PCRs the city currently has.

“Imbis na isa lamang ang magagamit natin, maaaring dalawa o tatlong PCR machine ang magagamit natin na pupuwede tayong makapagtest, siguro 200 to 300 tests sa isang araw.”

A molecular pathologist from the company will also be helping out in the laboratory.

Two teams trained in swabbing samples from the Philippine National Police will be there for additional assistance.

Manila HealthTek Inc.’s marketing director Maricar Ocampo says the company is looking to increase the production rate of testing kits from 8,000 a day to 20,000.

“We are waiting for additional automated liquid dispensing machines or yung mga robot na gumagawa ng mga testing kits natin. So pag dumating yung mga additional robots, mado-doouble itong capacity to manufacture namin.”

Marikina is still waiting for the DOH’s approval, and once this is done, the city will also welcome suspected patients from other cities to get tested.

“Hindi na lang ang Marikina ang i-serve natin o kaya yung matulungan sa pagte-test, kundi pati yung ibang cities and municipalities sa Metro Manila,” said Teodoro.

The laboratory wasn’t approved by the DOH because of its location, but now a new one has been agreed on.

But fortunately, the residents of Valenzuela City won’t have to wait any longer as the health agency has granted The Medical City the Stage 5 laboratory accreditation.

Mayor Rex Gatchalian confirmed on social media that mass testing will commence on Saturday.

“Start na po tayo this Saturday! We hit the ground running!”

Testing will be free for COVID-19 patients under investigation (PUIs), patients under monitoring (PUMs), health workers, and other frontliners.

This would be the first public-private mass testing partnership in the country.

Marikina and Valenzuela are two of the most productive cities in the country today with regards to issues concerning the current pandemic.

On Thursday, Mayor Marcelino Teodoro imposed a temporary liquor ban in Marikina with the intention of promoting a healthier lifestyle.

This ban is looking to enforce social distancing which is a must in this difficult time.

Also known as the Ordinance No. 40 Series of 2020, the ban will last until the quarantine will be lifted.

Retail stores, supermarkets, grocery stores, and other similar establishments are also not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages.

“Consumption or drinking of alcohol, wine, beer, liquor, and other intoxicating beverages in public places in the city of Marikina shall also be prohibited during the period of the enhanced community quarantine,” as said in the measure.

Those who violate the ordinance can be fined up to ₱5,000 or end up getting jailed for 3 months.

Marikina has also partnered with TeleHealth Pilipinas, an online medical consultation website to allow residents the ability to ask health-related questions without having to go outside and risk themselves with getting infected.

People can access the website through, or they can download the app.

“Kaya minabuti natin na magkaroon ng online medical consultation para habang nasa bahay sila ay may internet sila, puwede sila mag-download ng application na ginagamit natin sito sa online medical consultation,” said Teodoro.

Marikina residents only need to fill out forms so their next interventions can be determined by doctors.

“May doctor na sasagot sa kanila. Mayroon silang mga information, may forms sila na ipi-fill out nang sa gayon ay ma-assess ang tunay na kalagayan nila. At kung suspected COVID-19 case ay mayroon tayong dedicated ambulance at medical personnel na pupunta kung saan sila nakatira.”

Teodoro wants to build isolated rooms in barangays and health centers with computers and internet connection to expand the reach of Telehealth.

Mayor Rex Gatchalian, on the other hand, is more focused on the children of Valenzuela.

Parents who have children enrolled at public daycare centers have already been receiving Daycare NutriPacks from the city government.

These NutriPacks require vouchers which can be given by daycare teachers, and they are distributed at certain redemption centers.

An Alagang Valenzuelano Daycare NutriPack contains snacks such as fruit jellies, a variety of biscuits, cupcakes or sponge cakes, one container of wafer sticks, six bottles of probiotics drinks and 1.7kg powdered milk drink.

“Nauunawaan namin na nabibiktima rin ang mga kabataan sa nangyayari sa ating paligid ngayon at importante na napapangalagaan natin ang kanilang nutrisyon at kanilang pangangailangan… Sana sa ganitong programa, makatulong tayo sa pamilyang Valenzuelano at kabataang Valenzuelano,” said Gatchalian.

So far, there have been 203 COVID-19 related deaths, and 4,076 confirmed cases in the country.

Written by Charles Teves

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