December 01, 2020 at 10:20 pm
Rio N. Araja
The Quezon City government has pool-tested 549 vendors from four private and public markets for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), following the local government’s second partnership with Project Ark.
Mayor Joy Belmonte said those tested were from Frisco, Tandang Sora, Philand Drive, and Balintawak Market.
One percent or eight individuals tested positive and was immediately taken to community care facilities.
Belmonte expressed gratitude to Project Ark, a private sector initiative, for its collaboration anew for the new testing strategy.
“We appreciate the continuous support of Project Ark in our battle against COVID-19. This initiative complements our testing efforts as we slowly gear towards revitalizing our economy,” she said.
Dt. Esperanza Arias, City Health Department head, said the pooled testing is suitable for big groups as it allows testing of more individuals with fewer resources.
“Pooling allows us to save resources and test more citizens initially. We will only need to retest them individually if a pool indicated a positive result,” she said.
Through the pooled testing, she said, swab samples from five asymptomatic individuals are processed together to detect COVID-19.
The samples from pooled-tested individuals are taken to laboratories of the Lung Center of the Philippines and Philippine Children’s Medical Center.
Belmonte said the P4.5-million partnership would allow 4,000 more individuals to be tested.
“Our priority would be our non-medical frontliners, such as market vendors, jeepney and tricycle drivers, and call center agents among others,” she said.
“These workers risk exposure to the highly-contagious virus while earning a living and completing essential tasks that we might take for granted,” she added.