Press Release
April 15, 2020

Presscon excerpts from Senator Win Gatchalian and the Valenzuela City Government's ongoing localized mass testing and MOA signing with Detoxicare

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MAYOR REX: We started doing the swabbing ng Saturday and Sunday, tuloy-tuloy yun, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. We're already coming close to 25 a day na swabbing but the key takeaway there is by this weekend, we will no longer have any backlog pagdating sa PUMs at PUIs so zero. We will have tested all 537 and then we will probably, all the results are starting to come in already. In fact, the first set is already here and today, we get the second set. Every day we are getting sets so by Tuesday next week, all 537 results would have come back already. All 537 will be fully accounted for, zero backlog when it comes to PUIs and PUMs. The first round of tests came back, it was a set of 20 of which 18 tested negative and then 2, prior to the testing positive na sila, but they are still positive up to now. This was the second test already for those two individuals.

Now the 18, what's the significance there? In fact, we invited some of them behind the cameras you can talk to them later. Some of them we put their houses on lockdown, there were barricades and we deployed resources so yesterday, when we got the results, we told them that we removed the lockdown to those houses already and we're able to redeploy the resources to other areas. Now the other two that tested positive, we have to maintain the lockdown. The key point there is we are now going to do more intense or aggressive medical intervention. One of the cases we are going to push, she confined herself in the hospital though she does not have any symptoms anymore, she is a senior citizen and there may be immunocompromised issues so just to be safe, we will take her to the hospital within the day. The second case, we already pulled her out, she's a frontliner who works for a private hospital outside the city so she tested positive again. We are going to house her in our frontliners' house for our frontliners who have been exposed. That way she's really isolated. So yun yun.

The main takeaway is we have no more backlogs this Saturday, zero. All PUMs and PUIs would have been tested already. Final results will come out on Monday or Tuesday. The 18 that tested negative, we have removed the lockdowns in their houses. We explained that they still have to wear their masks and practice social distancing. We gave them the precautionary steps. The other two that still tested positive we will maintain the lockdown in their houses but at the same time, one will be moved to the hospital and the other one to the hotel that we rented for the PUIs who tested positive already. There lies the concept--targeted resource allocation for the positives rather than just by mere suspect we are going to lockdown the entire house and just wait. Now we have aggressive intervention. Moving forward, I think we will be the only city by next weekend that can tell you that all our suspects and probable would have been tested already. So this weekend, when you see our PUIs and PUMs, zero nay un. It's either they are positive or negative.

Now, in a while, in the agenda that we sent you, we are going to sign our second memorandum of agreement with another FDA-approved laboratory. This time it's with the Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory. They are the number 13 FDA-approved laboratory. We got in touch with them. Now, the significant salient points of our memorandum of agreement, for two weeks, they have allocated 90 spots for processing of our kits so meaning with the 90 that they are giving us plus the 25 that we have with the Medical City, we will have 115 tests taken and processed everyday starting tomorrow. Now, you might be wondering eh paubos na ang PUIs at PUMs niyo, what are you going to do? Remember we will going to test all frontliners in all our two public hospitals and then we are going to move our frontliners in our private hospitals and then we have our other frontliners in the security side of the endeavor which are policemen, BFP, our barangays, OFWs.

There is a new category of a vulnerable community that we identified that we must do in Valenzuela mass testing. Remember dialysis patients who are all immunocompromised but recently, a lot of the dialysis centers have been saying that all their patients tested first before they continue with the dialysis. Reason for this is, if they are a carrier, they might infect the person next to them. if there is a contamination, they have to shut down the entire dialysis center and disinfect for a couple of days which would be disastrous to other patients. So here in Valenzuela, we are also going to launch a major initiative wherein we are going to test all our dialysis patients because we treat them as vulnerable communities that must be taken cared of or else they will have difficulties if positive sila. If hindi man sila ma-test, hindi naman sila makapagpatuloy ng kanilang dialysis which will also be detrimental to them so the new capacity that Detoxicare is partnering up with us is very significant because it will move us from 25 to 40 test per day to 115 test per day. If you do the math, that's more than 700 test in a week so by next week, matatapos na namin all our frontliners and our vulnerable communities to include OFWs coming home as our dialysis patients.

As I mentioned the other day, this is another happy day for Valenzuela City. In all these things that's happening, I'd like to thank our new partner, Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory. They got their accreditation last week and now we are signing with them. I think we are their first LGU partner. I do hope that they can tap other LGUs. I think they are still talking to other LGUs as well. To recap, starting tomorrow, with our new partners we can do 115 tests per day. As we swab with 115, everyday, we can get 115 results so I'd like to thank them because they are really giving us a capacity boost and then later on kapag stabilized na kami, our agreement is we are coming back to another 25 para yung capacity naman nila is makatulong sila sa ibang LGUs. Valenzuela will not sit in those capacity for a long time that's why two weeks lang ang hiningi naming capacity para matapos namin lahat ng vulnerable communities. Then we go back to our standard 25 so 25+25 that's 50 which is still very significant.

Sa hospital and health center frontliners, that's a thousand and then Valenzuela Medical Center will probably be another around 500. We have yet to talk to the three major hospitals na private - Fatima, Citicare and Allied to get their account of frontliners who are working directly with COVID patients. Tutulungan din namin sila and that will be for free. Then the policemen, firemen and the barangay who've been working on the front and the checkpoints and curfew. We have the list of all the tanods but we want to make sure that we only list those who were working on the field.

So we will meet the barangay captains in a couple of days to get the full inventory of their frontliners who are outside. The policemen, everybody was deployed and we have around 600 Valenzuela policemen. Iba pa doon, we will need to get the number ng mga downloaded sa amin ng national government na army at police. So again, by this Saturday, Valenzuela is happy to report that we have zero backlog when it comes to testing of vulnerable communities. Everybody that's been accounted for whether you are susceptible, we would have tested you already. By Monday or Tuesday next week, all results for our vulnerable for these communities will be all in already so everybody has been accounted for so we will now move onto the frontliners.

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SEN WIN: Magandang umaga po sa lahat gusto ko lang ho i-translate itong nagawa namin dito sa Valenzuela to a national agenda or a national strategy dahil kung ano ang pwede naming gawin dito, kung ano yung effective, pwede nating gawin ito sa buong Pilipinas. So that's really one of the motivations kung bakit namin pinursigi itong mass testing sa local government of Valenzuela dahil naniniwala kami kung kaya ng isang local government, kaya ng 1,500 plus local governments. Ngayon na-brief kanina ni Mayor Rex at ni Doctor Exconde yung situation. Nagkaroon tayo ng initial testing of 20 patients, lumabas doon 18 negative, dalawang positive. Ngayon ang importante dito yung positive at strategy na gagawin ng local government doon sa senior citizen na 82-year old. Dadalhin na siya hospital dahil yung dalawang test niya ay positive. Yung isa naman dadalhin sa isolation center para hindi makahawa sa kanyang household, doon sa kanyang mga kasambahay, doon sa kanyang mga relatives at mga kapitbahay sa kanilang lugar. So ibig sabihin nito, at the local level nahahanap na namin kung sino yung positive at pwede na nating i-isolate yung positive na yun, at alam na natin kung ano yung isolation procedure na gagawin. Hindi na lahat kailangan i-lockdown, hindi na kailangan i-lockdown ang barangay, yung street hindi na kailangan i-lockdown, hindi na yung buong siyudad kailangan i-lockdown. Yung covid positive patient na lamang ang kailangan ilo-lockdown. Now when I say lockdown, may iba-ibang method to, pwede sa hospital, pwedeng dalhin sa isolation center. In that case, naniniwala kami kung mahahanap natin itong mga covid positive, pwede na nating dahan-dahan buksan ang ang ekonomiya ng ating bansa o ekonomiya ng lokal na pamahalaan.

So we need to translate this to a national scale. From my policy point of view, we can translate this to a national scale. Hindi po ako doctor kagaya ni Doctor Exconde at Doctor Fibra but tinitingnan namin to from a local governance standpoint at kung pano i-translate yung experience ng local government all the way to national. So ang punto ho namin dito, kung ang ating lokal na pamahalaan ay kaya mag mass testing, mahanap itong mga covid positive, kaya na nila i-isolate to sa kanilang mga isolation centers. Pwede na rin nila dalhin ang pasyente sa ospital para hindi na kailangan i-lockdown yung buong siyudad at barangay.

I raised it last time, ang tanong kasi come April 30, pwede na ba tayo magbukas ng ating ekonomiya? Pwede na ba natin i-lift ang lockdown? Sa tingin ko pwede kung itong ginagawa ng mga local governments ay magiging laganap, widely used. Mas maganda mahanap na natin yung mga covid positive para pwede na natin sila i-isolate. Yun po yung gusti ko i-translate to a national agenda. Dahil until now, to be honest about it, inaantay pa namin yung guidelines from DOH, kung pano yung local government initiated mass testing. Ano yung gagawin ng local government at yung procedures dahil hanggang ngayon wala pa rin.

So for example, all 17 LGUs in Metro Manila will undergo or will execute their own mass testing, ano yung mga guidelines and protocol na susundan nila? Importante to para hindi magkanya-kanya ang local governments. Gusto natin isang protocol, isang strategy ang gagamitin on a national scale dahil importante rin na ma-harmonize ito sa national strategy especially yung national action plan against covid. Isa pang natutunan namin at ito dapat ma-improve din through technology ay yung contact-tracing. Yung contact tracing ho napakahirap gawin. Kung kinausap mo isang tao, hindi niya maalala kung sino-sino na kinausap niya, saan siya pumunta kaya napakahirap for the local government to trace on a 100% basis. Talagang napakahirap po, so ibig sabihin dahil hindi mo ma-trace kung sino-sino mga nakausap niya, mas lumalaki yung risk nang pagkalat ng virus.

Again, we go back to mass testing and timely results. Importante pag na-test na, makuha kaagad, sana within 24 hours dahil kung makukuha mo yung test mo after 8 days, 9 days, wala na rin, posibleng nakaikot na yung possible positive patient yun at marami na rin siyang nahawaan nang walang kamalay-malay. So this is where the laboratories are very important and in fact kahapon kausap ko si Usec. Vergerie through text, ang sabi ko "Ma'am ang pakiusap namin mag-accredit pa kayo ng mas marmi pang laboratories," dahil kahit marami nga tayong test kits, kahit lahat ng LGUs may testing kit, kung walang silang madalhan ng testing kits, wala ring mangyayari. Until now ang delay sa RITM three, four days, five days, depending sa lugar, depending anong situation. Ang gusto ho natin within 24 hours makuha na ng LGU ang results para ma-isolate na kaagad yung pasyente.

Ngayon under the Bayanihan Act, vini-view ko ulit yung batas meron kapangyarihan ang pangulo para bumili ng equipment at ipamigay ito sa mga laboratories. Importante nagagamit natin ang Bayanihan Act para dumami ang laobratories. Ang next problem natin ay yung mga supplies sa testing dahil nakikita ko, kung hindi mabibili ng ating pamahalaan ang supplies, magkakaroon rin tayo ng shortage sa mga supplies na gagamitin sa mass testing. So ang gusto ko lang ipaabot sa ating mga local government units; gumawa sila ng sarili nilang mass testing, makipag-partner sila sa mga laboratories na malapit sa kanila at DOH imbes na maging regulator, maging enabler, gamitin ang Bayanihan Act, bumili ng equipment, tulungan mag set-up ng laboratories para magamit ng ating lokal na pamahalaan. So on a national scale itong ginagawa natin sa Valenzuela, pwede ho tong ipasok sa national action plan against covid at maging strategy ito. Hindi lang experiment, hindi lang isang local government yung gumagawa, gusto natin isang national strategy. At I think mas bibilis pa yung paglaban natin kung ang ating lokal na pamahalaan ay bibigyan ng kakayahan na labanan yung COVID, house per house, street per street, barangay per barangay, LGU per LGU.

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Q: Sir sa possibility of lifting the lockdown after April 30, papaano po if incase ma-lift yung lockdown sa business district eh diba po yung workers natin usually are coming from other nearby provinces?

SEN WIN: Well nakikita ko na there are minimum conditions na dapat nating makita bago i-lift yung lockdown. Number one, yung tinatawag nilang 'flattening of the curve' in which I saw a lot of research. One by UP, released yesterday na malaki ang naging improvement natin in terms of reducing transmission rate in our country. Meaning the ECQ, the first ECQ is effective and its flattening the curve. So ang kanilang forecast for the next three weeks until the end of the month ay malaking improvement in terms of flattening the curve so the possibility of lifting the lockdown is very high kung tuloy-tuloy. Ang importante, I say this with a lot of caveats, importante na ang ating mga kababayan ay nasa bahay at hindi nagkukumpol-kumpol sa palengke. At yung mga Mayor dapat hinuhuli yung mga nag kukumpol-kumpol sa palengke dahil napansin ko in the last few weeks, dahil matagal yung ECQ, nagre-relax din yung mga local goverments in terms of implementing. They have to make sure na hindi ningas kugon itong ECQ natin, dapat until the very end nag i-implement tayo ng ECQ because we will lose the gains of the first ECQ if we don't implement to the policies of the ECQ kaya hindi pwedeng ningas kugon to dahil kung ningas kugon to lahat tayo damay damay dito. Nakita ko sa mga social media, sa Balintawak Market, sa Sampaloc Market, yung market nagiging hotsopot ngayon ng kumpul-kumpulan. So a reminder to the local governments, especially to our barangay captains, i-implement natin to kung hindi masasayang lang. But all things equal, meaning if it's strictly implemented, the possibility of lifting the lockdown is very high. And then with this type of interventions, meron kang mass testing sa local, may mass testing ka sa national, lalong tumataas yung possibility natin na i-lift yung lockdown. So ang importante ngayon ang national, nag ma-mass testing na rin sila, nagpapadating na sila ng maraming kits on their own and yung lokal bumibili na rin sila ng sariling kits on their own. So kung dalawang levels na ang nag te-test, mas maganda yung possibility natin ma-lift yung lockdown.

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