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Philippine Red Cross to open hotline for COVID-19 results

The Philippine Red Cross will soon add a hotline service which the public can easily access to get their COVID-19 test results, PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said Monday.

"'Yung aming 1158 (hotline), 'yung tinatawagan ng tao kung may sakit sila o nagpapatulong sa ambulansya, there are 30 people at any one time there sa call center, maglalagay ako ng area doon at pwede kayong tumawag," Gordon said at a virtual forum.

"Ibe-verify lang namin kung kayo 'yun at masasabi namin sa inyo kung positive kayo o negative kayo. Kung hihingi kayo ng papel sisingilin namin kayo dahil ang laking trabaho niyan," he added.

Gordon mentioned the said plan after saying that the bottleneck on the release of results is at the government agencies where the PRC is forwarding the information.

"Pinapadala namin sa DOH, pinapadala namin sa BOQ, pinapadala namin sa Coast Guard, pinapadala namin sa ibang RITM, eh 'yun pala ang ginagawa hindi pala naipapadala dahil iyon ay line list—nakapila na ito ang positive at ito ang negative. Hindi nila naipapadala," he said.

"Kaya nagtataka ako bakit sinasabi wala raw tayong papel sa Red Cross. Eh talagang wala kaming papel kasi panay digital 'yan eh," he added.

He said the delivery of the test results via hotline would solve the problem.

The PRC currently has a daily testing capacity of 12,000. It aims to ramp up testing to 20,000 per day in Metro Manila alone to cover 13% of its population equivalent to 1.6 million people.

According to data released by Coronavirus Plan deputy chief implementer Vivencio Dizon in a Senate hearing last week, a total of 11,123 tests have been conducted nationwide on May 14, 2020. More than half or 66% of the capacity was contributed by the private sector—the Philippine Red Cross accounted for 45%, with other private firms contributing 21%.

The cost of COVID-19 testing in PRC is P3,500 for those swabbed by their local government units and P4,000 for walk-ins. An optional P500 charge will be added if the private individual asks for a certification. PhilHealth reimbursement is available but Gordon earlier reminded that members of the state health insurer must first "submit the necessary documents to PhilHealth" before getting tested.

“Once you paid for your test, you won’t be able to reimburse it from PhilHealth,” he said.

As of May 25, the Philippines recorded a total of 14,319 cases of COVID-19 with 3,323 recoveries and 873 deaths. — RSJ, GMA News