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Red Cross Saliva Test for COVID 19

Looking for a more affordable Corona virus test? Try the Red Cross saliva test for Covid 19. 

The threat of the new Coronavirus (novel Coronavirus, nCov, SARS-CoV-2) is still present despite the presence and administration of vaccines. So preventing the further spread of the virus and getting infected by following health protocols is still a must.

Who needs a Covid-19 test? 

If you're experiencing symptoms and need to confirm whether or not you are COVID-19 positive, then a PCR or RT-PCR test can be able to confirm it. 

A Covid 19 test is also required for other purposes such as employment and travel. 

COVID-19 Symptoms

Some of the usual symptoms of the new coronavirus include fever, cough, fatigue, body pain, sore throat, diarrhea, headache, and losing a sense of taste or smell. Severe symptoms include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath and even chest pain.

PCR Test Cost

PCR or polymerase chain reaction-based test is considered as the gold standard when it comes to confirming the presence or absence of the novel coronavirus as it identifies the genetic material of a virus. However, it costs as much as 5,000 pesos. 

To save money, local government units can offer assistance, especially for community-related health concerns to prevent further spread within an area. Contact your barangay health center so they can assist you. This is one of the first response recommendations anyway, to inform the closest barangay health unit of the possible case of COVID-19. They will then be able to take it from there. 

For employment-related purposes, some companies cover the cost. But if your work doesn’t and you can’t wait for the local government unit’s help, there are affordable medical clinics that offer this service; just be wary of possible scams or even fake results. 

Red Cross Tests for COVID-19

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is one of the options for a legitimate COVID-19 test within budget. For PCR tests, they offer the widely known Swab Test specimen collection. It costs 3800 pesos, cheaper than most hospitals. 

Red Cross Saliva Test Cost

Their saliva test is even more affordable at 2000 pesos. The base price does not include any additional fees. I paid 2093 pesos in total by paying through a credit card (processed by Paymaya). 


red cross saliva test payment method

However, the saliva test is not accepted for outgoing international travel purposes as per the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolutions.

Saliva Test Accuracy Rate

The Saliva test is similar to the swab test in terms of mechanism but instead of collecting specimens through the nasopharynx, a patient’s saliva is collected instead. 

The test accuracy rate is relatively high. The figures vary but several sources do agree that it can be higher than 83% up to 98%. 

PRC's research team, via lead researcher Michael Tee, says the accuracy is 98.23%. For their swab test, it's even higher at 99%. 

How many days will it take? 

As for how many days it will take, it can be as fast as just one day, although the expected turnaround time is 24-48 hours from the time the specimen is received. Processing the actual sample takes about 3-4 hours. 

Note that results may take longer if the next day falls on a weekend or a holiday. Booking a schedule will also make a difference as the slots are limited per day and are easily filled out.

How to Book a Red Cross Test 

If you’ve decided to try the saliva COVID test via Red Cross, here’s how it’s done:

First, book a schedule through their website. 

The main link is book.redcross.org.ph

Here you can select the specific Covid 19 test type to avail. 

There’s also a shortcut on the upper right-hand menu. 

The link goes to this page: 

book.redcross.org.ph/index.php/book-a-saliva-test

The page provides detailed instructions on the process. One of the first things it tells you to do is to find a location for the test using the map. I suggest you skip this part but it’s best to read the information on the entire page nonetheless. 

So instead of finding a Red Cross office on the map, just go to the list of locations for saliva testing here:

https://book.redcross.org.ph/index.php/shop

Scroll down until you find Saliva Collection sites. 

The locations are listed alphabetically by name (not location) so you may have to scroll to the succeeding pages to find a place closest to you, i.e. SM Malls or Ayala Malls and so on regardless of the city or town where it’s located. 

Click on “Book” below the branch you’ve selected.

No Walk-in! 

Note that some test facilities only accept drive-through or walk-through. They don’t accommodate walk-in patients as well; only those with a confirmed booking. The confirmation comes only after payment has been made, which is also processed online so you can’t pay for a slot on the spot. 

I received two confirmations somewhat. The first one includes a retrieval code for the specimen to be collected and where to track it. Then followed by the confirmed schedule. 


Red Cross Saliva Test


I've slightly altered the numbers and covered pertinent information for privacy purposes. But these are how they look like on the email. 


Red Cross Saliva Test Booking

 

Red Cross Saliva Test Booking

To continue, on the booking page, enter your name and email address. All updates will be sent via email so make sure you enter the correct information. 

Choose a date and time. One slot is for 10 minutes and there are only a limited number of slots per day so it’s best to book early. 

It may help to visit the site before or after high Internet traffic hours (4 PM to 10 PM). I tried to do this at dinner time and got frustrated by how fast the slots are filled out. The website was slow as well. I was able to book a time slot successfully late at night. 

Before hitting the “Book Now” button, read the description at the bottom for instructions before and after the test. 

To give an idea, these are the specifics:

Before the Test

Under the description below the “Book Now” button, notes and reminders are listed. 

Before the test, you are not supposed to eat, drink, gargle, smoke, or even use vape 30 minutes before your schedule. Don’t wear lipstick. 

Arrive 15 minutes before your schedule. Show the confirmation email on site. You can print it or just show the email or a screenshot of it on your phone. 

Bring a valid ID and a pen. There are still forms to fill out. As always, wear a face mask and face shield. 

During the Test

I’m not sure if the process varies per site but on the branch I went to, there is social distancing while waiting in line for your turn. The specimen collection area also limits the number of patients each time; it’s like a long table with only one chair each. There were about 6 long tables if my memory serves me right. That’s just ideal since there could be COVID-19 positive people mixed with those who are not yet infected. 

At the saliva collection area, a PRC staff will assist you. The materials you need along with specific instructions will be provided. You can also refer to the package print for details. 

From this point, all you need to do is to fill the vial (up to the specified line, 1 ml) with saliva. 

This is how the vial looks like:

red cross saliva test vial

A plain, watery texture is better than bubbly saliva. I’m not sure how you can do that but you can at least encourage saliva production by pressing the cheeks against the gums and teeth before spitting. There should be no discoloration on the saliva as well, which is why drinking, gargling, eating, smoking, vaping, and wearing lipstick before the test is discouraged.  

There is no limit on how much time you’ll need to fill up the vial but it’s of course better to complete the process faster for those who are waiting for their turn. Plus, you could be around Covid-19 positive individuals so you can lessen exposure time by leaving the area faster. 

Do take a quick look at your email for confirmation that the sample has been collected and received before leaving. The email will contain the CIF barcode which will be used to track the specimen using the link provided. 

After the Test

Alternatively, just enter the control number or bar code printed on the vial provided to collect saliva or your ID number / PhilHealth number (if you provided it) using the link below:

Specimen tracking link:

http://c19.redcross.org.ph/track

If there are any errors in the information collected such as email address, notify PRC right away using the form provided on the email, which is:

https://redcross1158.com

Important Reminders:

Since all transaction records are online, there will be no official receipt. If you need one for work, reimbursement, or any other reasons, it can be issued upon request but will only indicate the actual cost of the test excluding additional fees such as for the payment gateway. 

It is also non-refundable except for duplicate bookings, emergency cases, and other humanitarian reasons. Rebooking may also be accommodated but will be decided by the Philippine Red Cross. 

You can contact them for refund requests through email via prcrefunds@redcross.org.ph or 1158-appointments@redcross.org.ph. You can also call the 1158 hotline.

How to Book Red Cross Saliva Test 

If you agree with the terms and conditions mentioned above, continue the process by clicking “Book Now” after selecting the date and time. 

Then, click the “Cart” button on the upper right-hand menu, I got confused at this stage. I thought everything I entered disappeared so I repeated the process over again, but they should be there when you click "Cart." When I did, I saw that I've already added several items to my cart. 

Red Cross PCR Test Payment Options

Next, click “Checkout” and review the details before choosing a payment method. At the moment, only debit or credit cards (via PayMaya) and GCash as well as GrabPay (via PayMongo) are the available payment methods. 

If you are using a credit card, make sure that the billing address you enter is the same as that on the credit card.

Check your email for confirmation. It will include the date, time, and Appointment ID number. You will also be asked to fill out the e-CIF form before the test. It looks like it is for classification and contact tracing purposes. 

If the link on the email doesn’t work, you may access the e-CIF form through the following links:

https://c19.redcross.org.ph/public-ecif

Important!!!

Apart from the confirmation which indicates the Appointment ID number (very important), you need to show payment proof as well. The receipt sent to the email address linked to your payment method (i.e. credit card) will be the proof of payment. 

As mentioned earlier, you can print those emails, show a screenshot of them on your phone, or just show the live email when you get to the site for verification. 

My Results

Yes, I tested positive. I experienced moderate symptoms and only needed home quarantine. 

I can't post the actual test result certificate but I'm glad there is helpful practical information included in the email including these digital pamphlets in Filipino:


ano ang dapat gawin pag may covid 19

ano ang dapat gawin pag may coronavirus

They also linked to a counseling service provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), available in English and Filipino.


You can contact DSWD about the counselling service through the following:
Mobile numbers - 0961 520 7192 (Smart) and 0956 341 6918 (Globe)

For anything related to the Red Cross PCR tests, including the Saliva test, dial 1158 or visit www.redcross1158.com.


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