Marikina prioritizes cancer patients in swab test before dialysis

The Marikina City government and the local dialysis centers on Friday agreed to provide coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) swab testing to cancer patients in the city before getting dialysis treatment.

"Our immuno-compromised residents need to get their results quickly because they really need dialysis treatment. That's why we came up with this agreement with the eight dialysis facilities in the city to unburden cancer patients," Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said in a statement.

As part of health protocols, cancer patients are being required by dialysis facilities to undergo swab test to ensure that are not infected with Covid-19.
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The measure will also minimize the risk of cancer patients who are immunocompromised of getting infected with Covid-19 in over capacitated testing facilities and hospitals.

Teodoro said the Marikina Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory will quickly process the tests of cancer patients in order for them to get immediate dialysis treatment.

"In just 24 hours, our laboratory will release the results of our cancer patients. After getting the result, they can immediately avail dialysis treatment," the mayor said.

Dr. Antonio Llabres, Marikina City Task Force Covid-19 Logistics head, said the cancer patients only have to present referral letter from their doctor to the Marikina City Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (CESU), stating that they need to undergo a Covid-19 swab test in order to undergo dialysis treatment.

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"It is a matter of life and death that is why the process is also very simple. They are immuno-compromised and they really need dialysis treatment as soon as possible," he said. "Without the result of the test, they cannot undergo a session of dialysis treatment."

Cancer patients, according to Llabres, are really having a hard time looking for a testing center that can cater to them quickly because of their existing health condition.

"As instructed by Mayor Marcy, cancer patients will be prioritized. No more lines unlike at other testing facilities, they will get tested immediately," he said.

There are nine dialysis facilities in the city, three of which are located in hospitals while six are stand-alone centers.

On the same day, Teodoro highlighted before the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) chairperson and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III the best practices, innovations, and recalibrated strategies employed by the city to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Covid-19 Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) meeting with Marikina City’s Task Force Covid was held to assess and provide technical guidance being implemented by the local government unit.

“Situations at the local level vary. There is no sole standard. Transmission levels are varied. So what we are doing is a best practice of a locality might be adopted by a different locality," Teodoro said.

One of the innovations in Marikina, he said, is to expand their contact tracing capability wherein they conducted quick contact tracing and testing.

“Our contact tracing rate now is for one positive patient, we trace 30 identified individuals. That ratio is high so we are able to quickly contain the spread of the virus,“ he said.

While the national level aims only to conduct ana average of 400 to 500 tests per day, Teodoro said the city is able to conduct 600 to 800 tests a day, almost double the national standard average.

The case doubling time of Marikina City is still significantly high which is good because it means that the transmission is very slow at 14.68 days, he added.

The city government and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are currently building 136-bed capacity monitoring and treatment facilities which are expected to be completed by the end of August of this year.

The city will also hire 14 additional health workers who will conduct contact tracing and swabbing.

Each of the 16 barangays of Marikina has a team of contact tracers composed of members of the City Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (CESU), local police, and barangay personnel, including the captain.


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