Iloilo City started its mass testing for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Monday, April 13. The project was funded by various Ilonggo businessmen according to Mayor Jerry Treñas.

Treñas posted in his Facebook page that medical technologists have already been training to implement mass testing where persons under investigation (PUIs) in Iloilo City will compose the first batch.

“Our medical technologists are preparing to go on mass testing starting on Monday. They are identifying the persons to be tested. First to be tested are PUIs,” he said.

Mass testing was made possible due to collective donations by Ilonggos and the assistance from the national government, Office of the Presidential Assistant for Visayas (OPAV), Department of Health (DOH) and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Meanwhile, the city government has also procured 2,500 testing kits worth Php 5.5 million from South Korea. The money also came from cash donations of various Ilonggo businessmen.

The COVID-19 testing will be free of charge for those who are qualified, according to Treñas.

DOH Region 6 Director Dr. Marlyn Convocar said that any person who presents any of the conditions are qualified for COVID test:

  • all severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) cases where no other etiology fully explains the clinical presentation
  • influenza like illnesses (ILI) cases with any one of the following such as either with no other etiology that fully explains the clinical presentation and a history of travel to or residence in an area that reported local transmission of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to symptom onset; with contact to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms; individuals with fever or cough or shortness of breath or other respiratory signs or symptoms fulfilling any one of the following conditions; aged 60 years and above; with a comorbidity; assessed as having a high-risk pregnancy; and health workers.

As of Sunday, Iloilo City posted 5 positive cases, 1 fatality, and 32 PUIs. (RJ Espartinez)