By Chito Chavez
The Quezon City (QC) government on Wednesday allayed public fears that the soaring number of COVID-19 cases in the locality have put the lives of residents at greater risk.
Dr. Rolly Cruz of the Quezon City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (QCESU) explained that the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases is due to the numerous testing centers now located in the city’s six districts.
As the city ramps up its fight against COVID-19, Cruz said it is only natural for them to anticipate the increase in the number of cases of the virus.
“Testing is a key part of the local government’s campaign of identifying, isolating, and treating COVID-19 positive patients, while preventing its spread to communities,” Cruz said.
He noted that “testing is like driving with headlights on, which is way better than driving in the dark.”
Through numerous testing, Cruz said the COVID-19 patients can be isolated and given proper care.
The Quezon City government recently opened community-based testing centers in the city’s districts 1, 2, and 3.
The District 1 testing center is at Esteban Abada Elementary School while that of District 2 is at Batasan National High School. District 3’s is at the Old Balara covered court, which was opened Wednesday (May 6).
Cruz said Quezon City also has testing centers in District 4 (Quezon City Experience or QCX), District 5 (SB Park Novaliches), and District 6 (University of the Philippines’ Asian Institute of Tourism along Commonwealth Avenue).
In addition, tests are continuously done by the local government hospitals as well as by the QCESU.
Mayor Joy Belmonte said now that the city has testing centers in each district, the city has now the capability to examine a greater number of individuals.
In partnership with various laboratories, hospitals and partners, Cruz said the city expects a total of 140 samples to be analyzed and tested per day.
“Even with that, there are certain setbacks in terms of turnaround time for results. Hopefully, with the help of the national government, this can also be addressed,” Cruz added. “We recognize the enormous challenges being faced by the national government so we profusely thank them for assisting our local government unit.”
Joseph Juico, project manager of the community-based testing, said Quezon City is also exploring the establishment of its own polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory and the beefing up of QCESU’s manpower for contact tracing.
“Hopefully, we can also enter into partnerships with more laboratories to further increase our testing capacity to 300 to 500 tests per day,” Juico said.
Juico said they have tested more than 3,000 patients to date, on pace to meet the target of 10,000 patients this month.