The east wing of the newly renovated UP Asian Institute of Tourism (AIT) building located along Commonwealth Avenue is now COVID-19 Testing Center of Quezon City District 6.
“When a request for assistance in setting up a COVID-19 testing center in Quezon City was received from [District 6 Representative] Kit Belmonte by [UP Diliman] Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo, an affirmative response was immediately given after consultations with [UP] President Danilo Concepcion and myself as the head of unit of the building that was identified as the suitable location for the purpose,” UP-AIT Dean Leticia Susan Lagmay-Solis told the UP Media and Public Relations Office.
For testing operations that would begin on April 20, 2020, an ocular inspection of what used to be the AIT House Hotel was undertaken on April 17, 2020 by Belmonte and QC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Head Karl Marasigan, together with personnel from the UP Diliman (UPD) Office of the Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development, the UPD Office of the Campus Architect, and UP-AIT.
They addressed operational concerns and identified the most efficient way of setting up the facility at the soonest possible time. This included clearing the areas of furniture and equipment and disinfecting the internal and external areas of the building on April 18, 2020.
Thus, the center was set up, with booths and paraphernalia coming from the LGU, within two days after the request from the city; and was operating on the third.
“As time is of the essence… the University extends its full support without hesitation… as it tries to find ways to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, and to find solutions to end the pandemic,” Lagmay-Solis said.
“We in AIT wholeheartedly offer the building we consider our second home as our humble contribution in response to the urgent appeal of the QC LGU for support,” the dean added.
“All throughout this period, I, Chancellor Nemenzo, Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development Raquel Florendo, and Congressman Belmonte were in constant communication… until nighttime to ensure smooth operations when the testing facility is finally opened,” she said. “We constantly coordinate even now as the facility is already operational.”
Lagmay-Solis assured that all safety precautions and protocols are in place to ensure the welfare of all stakeholders.
After pilot-testing community-based testing the previous week at the Quezon Memorial Circle, the city opened the AIT testing center along with the testing center each for Districts 4 and 5. Based on a Quezon City government press release dated April 20, 2020, the city opened the testing centers for Districts 1, 2, and 3 on April 21, 2020.
The testing centers are equipped with swab booths to handle a targeted 50 tests per day, blood testing and x-ray examination. District health officers, in coordination with barangay health center personnel, will man and supervise the booths.
Specimens are forwarded to the Lung Center of the Philippines and St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City for processing.
The city has also partnered with other organizations and agencies to expand testing and include house-to-house tests, particularly of senior citizens and immuno-compromised constituents.
“For those who would like to undergo testing, the QC government requests its residents to coordinate with their barangay health officers for initial interview and assessment before they will be scheduled and brought to the testing centers,” according to the press release.