By Angela Casco

A number of hospitals in Quezon City will be using swabbing booths to collect specimens from individuals needed for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing.

The booths, a collaborative project involving the Department of Science and Technology, Usher technology, and MAPUA University, are made with powder-coated aluminum frames and acrylic glass. All are equipped with negative air pressure that prevents contaminated air leaks.

Through this facility, medical personnel can collect samples from the patient’s nose and throat through arm-length chemical PVC gloves. A built-in intercom system also allows patients to consult with the medical professional inside the booth, while a UV light disinfects the booth’s interior.

“Sa tulong ng mga booth na ito, maiiwasan ang exposure ng health workers [With the help of these booths, exposure of health workers will be prevented],” the local government writes in a Facebook post. “Mas makakatipid ang mga ospital sa paggamit ng personal protective equipment [Hospitals can also save usage of personal protective equipment].”

201804C3 E46A 4E00 9D73 8A68AFB3FD24 - Quezon City hospitals to use swabbing booths for Covid-19 testing
The likes of Quezon City General Hospital, Novaliches District Hospital, and Rosario Maclang Bautista General Hospital will each have a pair of these swabbing booths outside the hospital.
If these structures look familiar, it’s because the local inventor of these swab booths, Dr. Francis Aldrine Uy, has taken inspiration from South Korea and its many aggressive testing measures to beat the viral disease. One of which are phone booth-like facilities where medical staff safely and effectively collect specimens from individuals. The process in these booths takes about seven minutes.
This, along with their unique drive-thru-style testing method, has helped the country test 250,000 people since the beginning of local outbreak. It has also allowed the country to reach a testing capacity of 15,000 people daily.
As of writing, Quezon City health workers have tested the prototypes of swabbing booths as the city gears up for its upcoming Covid-19 pilot community testing.

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