Taguig City launches 'drive-thru' COVID-19 testing sites

Taguig City launches 'drive-thru' COVID-19 testing sites
In this April 21, 2020 photo, a health worker wearing protective gear takes a swab from a man to test for the coronavirus disease in Taguig City.
Taguig City Public Information Office / Released

MANILA, Philippines — Taguig City on Wednesday started its drive-thru testing for its residents who were assessed to undergo a COVID-19 test.

In an interview with ANC’s Headstart, Mayor Lino Cayetano explained that the city is conducting Systematic Mass Approach to Responsible Testing or SMART approach on increasing COVID-19 testing.

He said that Taguig has a mechanism for assessment whether one needs a COVID-19 test. This includes an online form to be filled out which will be evaluated by a doctor. Results will be sent through e-mail, which will include a number and a schedule when the patient can go to the drive-thru facility, if assessment showed that the patient needs a test.

“Part of the SMART system framework is those who need to be tested will be tested,” he said.

A separate release from the city government’s public information office said “those who find the health centers inaccessible but have personal vehicles at their disposal...may undertake the drive-thru testing.”

These have been set up in Bonifiacio Global City in Brgy. Fort Bonifacio and Taguig Lakeshore in Brgy. Lower Bicutan.

Barangay health workers are also going around to assess residents, Cayetano said in the interview.

If the health professionals rule that the patient needs to undergo a test, he or she will be brought to the health center by a deputized tricycle driver. The patient will also be brought back home.

The city mayor also said that public and private hospitals in BGC are also conducting COVID-19 testing.

Boost testing capacity

Cayetano said that if they go by the best practice framework, which means 10,000 people should be tested for every 1 million population, Taguig is ready to test 10,000 people for its 800,000 residents.

“SMART will increase the number of test conducted across the city with barangay-based and drive-thru testing,” the statement from the PIO also read.

“With the new components, SMART will now expand testing to cover recovering COVID-19 patients; persons exhibiting flu-like symptoms; frontliner workers; people who interacted with confirmed cases; and vulnerable demographics like pregnant women, elderly individuals and persons with co-morbidities,” it added.

Other cities may follow suit

Cayetano also said in the interview that he and other Metro Manila mayors have been in close coordination in curbing the spread of the disease.

While he is unsure if they are the first to facilitate drive-thru testing, he said: “I think all of us are headed towards the same direction.”

There are 197 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taguig City as of 8:45 p.m., Tuesday.

Across the country, there are 6,459 infections. 613 have so far recovered from the disease while national toll is at 428. — Kristine Joy Patag





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