By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – The Marikina City government on Friday said it has completed the mass testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) of over 5,000 tricycle drivers ahead of Metro Manila’s shift to a general community quarantine starting June 1.
Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said only four from a total of 5,465 tricycle drivers who underwent reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing were found out to be positive of Covid-19.
“Dalawa lang sa apat na tricycle drivers ang taga-Marikina. Iyong dalawa doon ay nakatira sa mga kalapit na mga bayan ng (Only two of the four tricycle drivers are Marikina residents. The other two are from neighboring towns of) Marikina,” he said in a statement.
As of Wednesday, the city government has also tested 4,312 workers from its local shoe industry and 1,600 workers of factories. Only one worker from the shoe industry tested positive for Covid-19.
“Tuloy-tuloy pa rin tayo ngayon ang pag-te-test sa workers natin sa (We continue to conduct testing on our workers from the) shoe industry. Mga 6,000 tayo (We have about 6,000). Dun sa mga private sector natin (As for those from the private sector), industrial, manufacturing, commercial, mayroon tayong target na (we have a target of) 8,000,” he noted.
A total of 1,997 City Hall employees serving as front-liners at the City Environmental Management Office (CEMO) and Public Safety and Security; City Health Office and City’s Engineering Office also underwent testing.
Of this number, Teodoro said six city health workers tested positive for the dreaded disease — one doctor and five sanitation workers.
Meanwhile, only one from the 951 barangay employees, including barangay tanods (watchmen) and barangay health workers, tested positive for Covid-19.
Teodoro said the mass testing is shouldered by the local government.
He said this is an initiative of the city government of Marikina and shall form part of the health services in the “new normal.”
“This is a good investment that should be made for public health which is imperative, necessary, and essential to address the problems of Covid-19. I strongly believe that mass testing is a must to address the problem of Covid-19,” he said.
The real challenge to the local government, he said, is to “balance biosafety concerns and the viability of local economy”.
While noting the importance of mass testing, he said this is not a requirement to return to work but only a strategy of the local government in stopping the spread of Covid-19 in the city.
He added that the things considered crucial right now are tracking down persons with symptoms, identifying their households and tracing people they have been in contact with, and putting them on quarantine.
Workers who would test positive for Covid-19 will be immediately brought to a quarantine facility so that they can be isolated and given supportive treatment.
He said the mass targeted testing will be regularly conducted, adding that the LGU will also do regular random testing by sampling to ensure in the future that their places are still safe. “This is what we call surveillance testing.”
“We should test, treat, and isolate, every case to break the chain of transmissions,” he said.
Despite the city’s transition to GCQ, Teodoro urged residents to continue practicing health protocols like physical distancing, wearing of masks, saying the full cooperation of the public is needed to efficiently and effectively address the problems of Covid-19. (PNA)