PRC opens drive-thru saliva testing sites in two Metro Manila malls

Marje Pelayo   •   February 3, 2021   •   812

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has rolled out drive-thru saliva testing sites at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City and at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

Those who wish to get tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may proceed to the said malls provided they have pre-registered or booked online for the test on book.redcross1158.com.

The drive-thru saliva testing, which opens from 9:00AM to 5:00PM is priced at P2,500 — much cheaper than a swab test which costs P3,800.

PRC Chairman Senator Richard Gordon said, the price may be further lowered depending on the demand.

“Kung marami ang magpapa-saliva test gusto ko ibaba pa hanggang P1,000 kung kakayanin,para lingo-linggo magpapa-test ang tao,” he said.

“What is the purpose? Our purpose is to get people working in the malls, driving buses, jeepney, tricycles and people who want to work in factories,” he added.

He said saliva testing is almost similar to swab testing which is considered the golden standard of the World Health Organization (WHO) for COVID-19 testing.

Prior to the saliva test, the public is advised to fast – do not eat or drink, do not smoke or gargle anything – 30 minutes before the test.

The process will take about three to four hours before the result is received.

Aside from malls, the PRC is also coordinating with agencies in the private sector who are interested in availing the saliva testing. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

QC gov’t taps PH Red Cross, clinic to expand COVID-19 testing

Robie de Guzman   •   April 12, 2021

The Quezon City government has partnered with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and a private diagnostics clinic in a bid to further increase the city’s mass testing and speed up the detection of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said they have tapped the PRC and diagnostics clinic Hi-Precision to expand the city’s swab and X-ray testing amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

“Our partnerships will allow us to pool all available resources, weave our efforts, and immediately address the needs of our most affected communities,” Belmonte said.

Under a memorandum of agreement, the PRC will allocate 8,000 RT-PCR test kits to the city worth around P3,400 each.

Belmonte said the partnership will allow the city government “to test more residents and subsequently reinforce its contact tracing efforts” and increase the turnaround time for the releasing of test results.

Under the partnership with Hi-Precision diagnostics clinic, the city government said the facility has offered to lend its two mobile X-ray units to the city.

The said units, which are worth P3.6 million, will be set up in two of the city’s HOPE facilities and cater to the admitted patients.

“The idea is to decongest our hospitals by putting these machines in our HOPE facilities so that our mild to moderate or asymptomatic patients can have their X-ray done at the soonest time possible,” Belmonte said.

The Quezon City government also said it is also planning to open three additional testing centers which will cater to individuals who are manifesting flu-like symptoms and those who have exposure to COVID-positive patients in the communities.

The existing community-based testing centers are in Toro Hill Basketball Court (District 1), Payatas Super Health Center (District 2), Old Balara Covered Court (District 3), Amoranto Stadium (District 4), SB Park Novaliches (District 5), and Talipapa Senior High School (District 6).

All centers operate Mondays to Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

PRC eyes COVID-19 saliva testing in malls

Marje Pelayo   •   February 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross will launch its drive-thru saliva COVID-19 test in malls starting February 3.

The PRC believes saliva testing is easier, more convenient and cheaper.

According to former health secretary now PRC’s molecular laboratory head Dr. Paulyn Ubial, the agency now has 3,100 samples since they started the program on January 25.

To further expand their reach, the PRC targets to put up saliva testing boots in parking areas of shopping malls.

Pwedeng mag drive thru. Ibig sabihin dadaan ang kanilang sasakyan at bibigyan sila ng sample collection kit at  doon sa loob ng sasakyan dudura o idu-drool yung kanilang laway (It can be drive-thru where they can stay inside the vehicle and will be given a sample collection kit for their spit),” Ubial said.

“Kapag nakakuha na sila ng one to two milliliters i-aabot na lang nila ang lalagyan na vial doon sa ating mga saliva collectors (Once they have filled one to two milliliters of the vial, they can just hand it over the vial to saliva collectors),” she added.

Aside from malls, the PRC is also looking to bring the project to factories, offices, schools and public transport stations for jeepney and bus drivers.

Tourist destinations such as Boracay, Siargao, El Nido in Palawan and Bohol are also future venues for the initiative.

Gusto nating ma-test ang mga tao bago sila parang pumasok sa eskwela, pumasok sa trabaho, pumasok sa mall, para nang sa gayon ay mahiwalay na natin ang positive  sa negative (We want to test the people before going to school, work and malls so that we can immediately separate the positive cases from the negative ones),” Ubial added.

For now, the PRC has the capacity of up to 20,000 saliva tests which can expand to 42,000.

According to the agency, saliva testing is cheaper by 50 percent than swab test. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Alleged missing P15-B fund has been liquidated — PhilHealth

Marje Pelayo   •   January 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Atty. Dante Gierran of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) insisted on Tuesday (January 26) that there is no truth that the agency is missing billions of pesos to irregularities and corruptions.

In August 2020, resigned PhilHealth Anti-Fraud officer Atty. Thorrsson Montes Keith made headlines for divulging alleged anomalies within the agency and claimed that around P15-billion was missing in the state insurer’s fund.

According to Gierran, they are finalizing the liquidation report as to where the said fund had been used.

Sa ngayon po, 92 percent na ang fully liquidated. So kaunti na lang (So far, 92 percent (of the amount) has been liquidated. Only a small amount to go),” the PhilHealth CEO and President said.

As for the delays in the payment of the agency’s debts to the Philippine Red Cross and other healthcare providers, Gierran explained that, like any other government agency, PhilHealth’s operation is also deeply affected by the current pandemic.

Aside from being undermanned, Geirran said incomplete documents from claim applicants are also delaying their validation process.

“One of the reasons of the delay, of course, we are under the covid regime,” he explained.

Lahat tayo napipinsala, mga kilos natin (We are all affected, our operations.) We are less liberated,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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