THE Office of the Vice President yesterday rolled out its free antigen testing program in Malabon City, where 24 residents out of 419 tested yielded positive results.
The initial testing was conducted in identified barangays.
The “Swab Cab” initiative was piloted in the city, in collaboration with the office of Mayor Len Oreta to support the local government in conducting efficient community-based testing amid the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.
“So far, it’s smooth-sailing,” said Vice President Leni Robredo after the OVP deployed three Swab Cab buses in Barangays Longos, Potrero, Tonsuya, Tañong and Flores, where tests were done within an average of two minutes.
The OVP said it was in close coordination with the city government of Malabon throughout the process, especially for the next steps to be taken for the positive cases. Contact tracing is being done, alongside arrangements for isolation of the infected persons who will undergo confirmatory RT-PCR tests.
The initiative is part of the OVP’s continuing support for frontliners and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Swab Cab provides antigen testing in communities with high transmission rates. It was launched to help local government units identify positive cases faster for contact tracing and isolation.
Under the partnership, the OVP, through funds from Kaya Natin Movement will provide antigen test kits and care kits containing face masks and face shields.
The buses used as testing areas were courtesy of UBE Express, while the lists of residents in need of testing and personnel for assistance and crowd control are provided by the LGUs.
Aside from its partners, the OVP also consulted with the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC), to ensure that the initiative would be efficient.
HPAAC recommended prioritizing symptomatic individuals for the use of antigen test kits, which the OVP integrated in the Swab Cab process, alongside other protocols such as proper air and ventilation, physical distancing, wearing of face masks and face shields, and the quick conduct of the tests to ensure limited interaction.
In a related development, testing czar Vince Dizon yesterday said 30,000 antigen tests will be conducted per day as the government ramps up its COVID testing efforts in the NCR Plus bubble.
“Kaya po ngayon in-authorize ng IATF ang pag-augment ng ating RT PCR tests sa NCR Plus to add 30,000 antigen tests per day. Kaya po kung idadagdag po natin ang 30,000 doon sa existing natin, which is roughly 50,000, ay aabot tayo anywhere between 80 to 90 thousand tests per day (The IATF has authorized that antigen testing be used to augment the RT-PCR tests in the NCR Plus. That will be 30,000 antigen tests a day plus the existing 50,000. We will reach anywhere between 80,000 to 90,000 tests per day),” Dizon said.
The Office of Civil Defense is set to procure 500,000 antigen test kits to be used for house-to-house testing in ECQ areas.
“Ito ay gagamitin ng ating mga ospital para i-test ang kanilang mga pasyente at pati na rin ang kanilang mga healthcare workers. Ito po ay gagamitin ng ating mga mayors para i-test sa mga lugar lalo na iyong mga barangay na mataas ang prevalence at madaming kaso (These will be distributed to hospitals which they use to test their patients and their healthcare workers. These will also be used by mayors to test their constituents, especially in barangays with many cases of COVID-19),” Dizon said. – With Raymond Africa