If you have a suspected positive case, you need a confirmatory RT-PCR to see if he’s positive or not.
Reiterating, here’s the DOLE and DTI Health Guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19:
The rapid test and swab test should be at company’s expense. Based on Labor Advisory No. 18, Series of 2020, bawal po i-charge ng company ang tests sa staff:
If the staff is under an agency, it is the PRINCIPAL who will pay for the cost of the testing, should they decide to do so.
Following this, here is our Company Policy:
- Employees with a fever of 37.5 degrees C and above is considered a suspected COVID-19 carrier. He will undergo rapid test. If he is negative, pagaling muna sa bahay.
- The staff with a positive rapid test will take a confirmatory COVID-19 RT-PCR test. It will be the company who will book the appointment but it is the staff who is responsible to go to the clinic themselves. If the person is at the office, we will bring him/her to clinic, complete with PPE. Both rapid test and RT-PCR are employer’s expense.
- While waiting for the results, all staff who was exposed to the suspected COVID-19 patient are placed in home quarantine. I have written about home quarantine in my previous article, 10 Questions Answered on the Rising Cases of COVID-19.
- The office will be disinfected with bleach solution (Click here for CDC Instructions) and UV lighted to kill bacteria and germs. Work can resume in 24 hours if another cluster is available.
- IMPORTANT: There are many UV light options from Lazada/Shopee. Many of them are reasonably priced. Be careful of fake UV lights. Never buy wands or portable UV lights. The UV light that is effective is the one that requires you to be OUTSIDE the room when you operate them. They should harm the skin, and hurt your eyes if you stare at them for a few seconds. If you’re using them on your babies’ skin or while your baby is in the room, they are not real UV.
- Beware of fake UV lights. Always do your due diligence when using UV. If you’re using them on your skin, they are not effective UVs:
Source: World Health Organization
- If the swab test result turns out negative, then everyone — including the suspected worker — returns back to work.
- If the staff who is tested positive, it will be the hospital and clinic who will immediately notify the confirmed case to the Municipal Health Officer (MHO) or City Health Officer (CHO) for verification and initial investigation. The MHO/CHO shall then report to the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) using the Event-Based Surveillance System (ESR) system of the Epidemiology Bureau (EB) of DOH.
- We will report to the barangays where the work location and the residence of the worker is located so that they can ensure that the staff and his/her family are following home quarantine rules. We will monitor the temperature and symptoms every day in the morning to see if there’s any improvement.
In short, wait for 14 days for the staff to finish home quarantine. That’s about it.
Interestingly, the staff is NOT required to be tested again to be cleared of COVID-19 after 14 days of quarantine:
A lot of companies need a certification that a person is negative of COVID-19 before he is allowed to come back to work. However, DOH is telling us we don’t need to re-test the staff of COVID-19 nor do we need to require him to have a Negative COVID-19 Certification to return to work:
Because COVID-19 is most contagious from the first day of symptoms up to the seventh day. By the 7th day of sickness, its contagiousness drops significantly. By the 10th day or more, it’s no longer contagious!
Since the government requirement is quarantine for 14 days, people who finish this period of quarantine is no longer contagious:
Since they already have antibodies in their bodies, they will test POSITIVE for the virus especially with the rapid test. However, they are no longer contagious. Hence, there is no need for them to be tested again:
That’s good news, I guess?
Anyway, here’s my research on places you can get swabbed:
Prices range from Php 4,000 to Php 13,000. Speed of results vary, so while the person is waiting for his results, everyone with him that day is in home quarantine, no work no pay:
Downloadable Excel: List of Hospitals for Swab Test
RED CROSS PHILIPPINES (Php 4,000.00 for Swab Test) is the cheapest, but you need to pre book an appointment
Address: 37 Edsa Corner Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City, 1550
(Along the Edsa, in front of Robinson Forum)
Need to schedule first, call 1158 for schedule. There is no walk-ins available.
Once paid email the proof of payment to firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Reference #, Patient Lab Location, indicate the picture of deposit slip.
Result was given thru email. 5-7 days for the result.
Earliest schedule August 1, 2020 (9:00 am) and August 2, 2020 (9:00 am and 10:00 am)
To Pay, Bank account details:
- BDO: Account name: PHILIPPINE RED CROSS (Account #: 004530190938)
- METROBANK: Account name: PHILIPPINE RED CROSS (Account #: 1517151524342)
The cheapest swab I received was Php 2,100, but I can’t contact the clinic yet. It is allegedly in Las Pinas:
In short, RT-PCR tests are expensive and requires at least a 3 to 14 day waiting time depending on you get it. By the time you get your results, it may be too late. You’ve already infected those you should have infected. Which is why it’s important to act as if EVERYONE is positive, and make sure you always wear your face masks, wash your hands, disinfect the stuff that’s always touched in the office, and practice social distancing.
Any swab that’s free?
Yes, two ways: If you report it to the local barangay, or if you go to MOA Arena.
The MOA Arena facility is one of four ‘mega swabbing’ centers the government had set up in line with its ‘Test, Trace and Treat’ strategy. The other three are the Enderun Tent in Taguig City, the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan, and the Palacio de Maynila in Roxas Boulevard, Manila, which started operating on May 7.
Here’s the bad news, the free swab test at MOA Arena has been suspended since July 27 until further notice.
So the only recourse is to report the staff to their local barangay and get them swabbed there for free.
Depending on the barangay, some offer free swab test. I called up the staff’s barangay and they offer free swab testing. Kasama pa ang hatid sundo from house to clinic and back to the house. Then the barangay guards the house to ensure quarantine is followed.
The result comes out in 7-14 days at most.
For example, in Barangay Sta. Lucia in Caloocan, here are the numbers to contact. You can find the Barangay details on Facebook:
At over 80,000 confirmed cases, Metro Manila is now a hotzone for COVID-19. Everyone I know already has a neighbor, friend, co-worker or acquaintance who is COVID-19 positive. It’s so ubiquitous that it’s now “meh.”
I hope that the government makes the right decision and end this pandemic once and for all. As I’ve mentioned, I’m in favor of one last ECQ just to ensure everyone stays at home and does city-wide quarantines.
No more incoming or outgoing flights.
No more balik provincia that infects the rest of the Philippines.
Everyone stays put one last time.
And we finish this.
There’s no point in doing the GCQ and everyone’s afraid of coming out. People are getting infected of COVID-19 left and right, dropping out of work like flies. Everyone quarantining at their own pace pero hindi pa sabay sabay.
If we ECQ, the numbers WILL go down. We can beat this so long as nobody’s coming or going. COVID-19 is like that bad boyfriend that never seems to go away. You gotta rip off the band-aid to stop the pain once and for all.
But I’m not the President. And I hope that his wise counsel will advise him of the right thing to do. Let’s go team!
As always, stay calm, pray hard and let’s weather the storm. Have a good week everyone!