Manila opens second walk-in testing center at hospital in Tondo

The Manila city government launched its second walk-in testing center at the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center (GABMMC) in Tondo, Manila, Mayor Isko Domagoso announced Thursday (July 23).

He said both residents and non-residents of the country's capital can get tested at the newly-built facility, as well as at the first walk-in testing center at Ospital ng Sampaloc and the two drive-thru testing facilities at Quirino Grandstand and in front of the Andres Bonifacio Monument. 

Not a rapid test

The local chief executive said that those who wish to get tested will be undergoing a serology test and not a rapid test. Those who got tested reportedly confused the two because of the quick turnaround of the serology test results.

"This type of testing, you can honestly say that it is better than the regular rapid testing... This is not rapid testing, this is mass testing," he told reporters.

Both tests require blood samples, but with serology testing, the samples are processed with serology testing machines manufactured by American healthcare firm Abbott.

The machines have an accuracy of 99.6 percent for specificity and 100 percent for sensitivity.

The city government now has four of these machines, installed at GABMMC, Ospital ng Sampaloc, Ospital ng Maynila, and Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital. This puts the city's testing capacity at 89,600 tests per month.

Manila residents who take serology tests will be informed of their results via postal mail within 24 hours. Non-residents can pick up their results at the Quirino Grandstand.

Key is 'early detection'

The local executive also said the key to containing the spread of COVID-19 is early detection and vowed to continue finding ways to sustain its mass testing operations across the city.

"Iisip at iisip tayo na hanapin, tukuyin, at alamin sa lalong madaling panahon ang katatayuan ng isang tao para sa kaligtasan niya at ng kanyang pamilya, at ng kanyang komunidad dahil the key is early detection (We will find ways to trace, identify, and determine as soon as possible the condition of an individual to ensure the safety of their family and their community because the key is early detection)," he said.

Being a good neighbor

Domagoso said the country's capital is taking an inclusive approach by allowing both Manilans and non-Manilans to avail of its services.

The free service, he noted, is a manifestation that Manilans are being "good neighbors" to their neighboring cities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I want you to be proud as a ‘Batang Maynila,’ na kayo ay mabuting kapitbahay (that you are good neighbors). Kahit tayo ay tukod, kahit tayo ay nahihirapan, mayroon pa rin tayong tiyansa na maging mabuting kapitbahay sa ating mga kapitbayan (Even if we are down, even if we are struggling, we still have the chance to be good neighbors to our neighboring cities)," Domagoso said.

Domagoso added that Manila's approach to COVID-19 pandemic "has to have an inclusive approach" and "has to be confronted universally."

"Together, the people, the government, will work hand in hand to confront COVID-19. Wala nang kani-kaniya. Kailangan magmalasakitan (No one will be left behind, we need to take care of each other)," he said.