CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga – A facility that aims to provide a reasonably-priced and convenient way for locators and employees to be tested for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) was launched here on Tuesday.
Dubbed “Swab and Go,” the project was initiated by the Clark Development Corporation (CDC), in collaboration with the provincial government of Pampanga and the Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital (JBLMGH).
CDC president and CEO Manuel R. Gaerlan, in his speech during the live stream event, cited the importance of having a testing facility here.
“It is really important to have a testing facility here. This is for our workers and stakeholders and it is important that they can be tested so that the spread of the virus can be mitigated. I hope that we can quickly recover from this (pandemic) and it is for the best interest of, not only our locators but also for the government and the economy,” he said.
Gaerlan said the facility is a vital tool in addressing the increasing demand for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing as it also responds to sustain economic activity in the Freeport.
The “Swab and Go” site is located at the open space parking lot in front of the CDC–Health and Sanitation Division (HSD), and its main booth in the site was donated by the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Free wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) connection was likewise be provided in the area by PLDT-Clark.
Meanwhile, the “Swab and Go” process will be operated by medical professionals from JBLMGH Molecular Pathology Laboratory, one of the three molecular laboratories in the Philippines that pioneered the conduct of pooled RT-PCR testing in the country.
The other two laboratories are UP Molecular Laboratory System, Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City.
Currently, there are only 12 institutions certified by the DOH to do the pooled RT-PCR testing.
Similar to a drive-thru testing site, the “Swab and Go” facility will help to fast-track the process of testing suspected and probable Covid-positive individuals.
The testing is done in a four-step process, namely registration, verification, payment, and swabbing.
Specimen from individuals who will undergo RT-PCR in the facility will then be transported to the laboratory of JBLMGH for further testing and confirmation.
The cost of the testing in the facility will be at PHP900 per person if conducted under a pool RT-PCR testing approach with a minimum of five persons in a group.
It is cheaper compared to those other facilities available in the market.
Qualified individuals who may avail of the pooled RT-PCR testing are determined based on certain categories and the Department of Health (DOH) reference list.
Clark workers fall under the economic workers’ category and are qualified to avail of the test in the facility.
For those who are not qualified for pool testing, a regular rate will be charged with an applicable discount for senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and government employees.
The CDC has collaborated with Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) to provide the service to stakeholders in the Freeport.
CILA is also set to sign a memorandum of agreement with JBLMGH, similar to the signed partnership of CDC and JBLMGH.
With the recent surge of Covid-19 cases in the region and adherence to the resolutions provided by the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the CDC has also issued stringent guidelines on the implementation of standard health protocols inside the Freeport. (PNA)