City promotes pooled method to further boost testing capacity

BAGUIO CITY – (Feb. 17, 2021) – The city government has adopted the pooled testing method in a bid to further boost its testing capacity as a control measure against the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city scheduled a four-day pooled testing activity and encouraged business establishments to subject their employees to undergo the shared testing method.

The project coordinated by Budget Officer Leticia Clemente, City Permits and Licensing Officer Allan Abayao and City Health Services Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo was conducted last Feb. 16-19 in various venues in the city.

The mayor said the project aims to address the urgent need for expanded testing for COVID-19.

“With the emergence of COVID variants, there is a need to boost our testing capacity to quickly identify infected individuals and isolate them,” he said.

He explained that the method allows testing in small groups of people using only one Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test kit for testing at the molecular laboratory of the Baguio General Hospital with test results made available within 24-48 hours.

“The pooled testing method is an effective and cost-efficient way of expanded testing to curtail the spread of COVID to a bigger population. Unlike the usual RT-PCR test that may not be affordable to most people, the pooled testing method is reasonably priced at P1,000 for each individual in the pool without additional charge,” he said.

According to City Health Services Office Medical Technologist III Lorelyn Ludmelia Aspiras, the method is done by combining “respiratory samples from several people and conducting one laboratory test on the combined pool of samples.”

If the pooled test result is negative, then the laboratory will presume that all the samples are negative.  However, if the pooled test result is positive, each of the samples in the pool will need to be tested individually to determine which samples are positive for the virus.

The mayor thanked the barangays for coordinating and establishments Abanao Square, Baguio Center Mall, Porta Vaga and SM City Baguio for providing venues for the project. – Aileen P. Refuerzo