The Quezon City government has issued guidelines to ensure that all COVID-19 testing to be undertaken in the city, regardless of proponents, are safe and properly conducted.

Mayor Joy Belmonte said the guidelines will help guarantee that the test kits used are FDA-approved, the team doing the tests are trained medical professionals, and that all residents will remain safe.

“Private groups or other government agencies that want to conduct mass testing activities are very much welcome in our city. However, we have to make sure that these activities are properly coordinated with our City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU),” said Belmonte.

She added that coordination will guarantee that all test results will be forwarded to the health department for appropriate action.

“The city must be strictly notified of all individuals who test positive so they can be enrolled in our Community Case Management Program and be given homecare kits or be sent to our quarantine facilities, as the case may be,” said Belmonte.

Under Memorandum No. 05-22 or Guidelines for Mass COVID-19 Testing Activities Undertaken in Quezon City, all testing conducted by entities other than DOH-accredited private clinics and laboratories, including those of the Quezon City Government, Government-owned hospitals, and private hospitals in the City, are referred to as ‘extra-ordinary’ testing.

As specified in the guidelines, senior citizens and those with comorbidities and without access to testing by themselves, regardless of vaccination status, should be prioritized.

Another priority group are individuals who are not senior citizens and without comorbidities but who cannot facilitate access to testing by themselves.

Proponents of ‘extra-ordinary’ COVID-19 testing should coordinate with the Quezon City Health Department (QCHD), through the City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU), via letter in hard copy to the Quezon City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, QCX Museum, Quezon City Circle, Diliman, Quezon City or via email at [email protected]. The letter must be received at least two days prior to the conduct of the activity.

In their letter, proponents must indicate the name of the proposed COVID-19 testing activity, the details of the assigned contact person and the proposed date, time, and venue of the event.

The letter must also state the target number of individuals to be tested and to which priority groups these individuals belong (per DOH Department Circular No 2022-0002), the brand name, source, lot numbers, and expiration details of test kits to be used, and the relevant DOH and FDA approval and certification details accompanying the kits.

They must also provide the names and PRC identification cards of the medical team members participating in the activity.

Once coordinated and approved, the CESU will oversee implementation of the guidelines while the City’s Law and Order Cluster, District Action Officers, and the Barangay or Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) will provide assistance for the enforcement of MPHS and proper identification of individuals who will be tested.

The CESU will ensure that the Prioritization Criteria for Testing contained in DOH Department Circular No. 2022–0002 are followed, in addition to all other protocols governing COVID-19 testing.