QC offers free routine testing to safeguard frontline and essential workers, citizenry

As part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID in workplaces and ensure the safety of frontline workers, the Quezon City government has launched a free and expanded testing program for agencies, offices, and businesses in the city.

“We want to make sure that our frontliners and essential workers are safe in their respective places of work. We have to be proactive to contain any upsurge of cases, and one way to do that is to offer them free swab testing on a regular basis regardless of whether they are exhibiting symptoms or not,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.

“Through widespread testing, we’re also assured that they are not carriers of the virus and won’t be posing health risks to their families and the community at large”, she added.

The City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit started conducting tests in workplaces under the Kyusi-Industriya I.W.A.S. (Industry-Wide Active Surveillance) sa COVID-19 or IWAS since June 16.

“As of July 28, we have already tested thousands of individuals in 29 agencies and businesses. We test extensively in one workplace per day. To date, a total of 4,932 individuals have been tested via RT-PCR, of which 4,538 tested negative and 199 turned out positive,” said CESU Chief Dr. Rolando Cruz.

He said all positive cases are immediately brought to the city’s HOPE quarantine facilities. The program covers factories, call centers, wet and dry markets, private companies, project-based workers, and government agencies. Some of the agencies and businesses that have availed of the program are the Bureau of Animal Industry, Department of Agriculture-Central Office, the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Central Office, SM Fairview, Toyota Fairview, PHIVOLCS, several QC police stations, and the LBC Express Hub.

“There was an instance when the City issued a temporary closure order of a business where a significant number of employees tested positive. Active case finding is our way of containing the virus faster,” said Cruz.

Simultaneously, CESU also regularly conducts routine swabbing of frontline workers of the local government including police officers.

As of July 29, five of the city’s 16 police stations aside from Station 3 (Talipapa), have undergone testing namely stations 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. Of the 1,285 individuals swabbed from these stations, 33 are positive cases.

These include 12 police officers who were immediately brought to isolation facilities, and 21 persons under police custody (PUPC).

The PUPC were moved to isolated cells and are being attended to by medical workers.

Some of the remaining police stations are scheduled for swab-testing in the coming week.

Managers or administrators of organizations and businesses are encouraged to coordinate with the CESU to schedule their free testing. Interested agencies may contact CESU via Hotlines 0919-067-0473, 0919-067-0286 or e-mail at QCSURVEILLANCEWORKPLACE@GMAIL.COM.