(Updated) Swab Test Required? How To Hire Yayas and Helpers During A Pandemic

Hiring: The Usual Screening Process

After multiple flight cancellations and re-bookings, our helper Jean finally got to the province in July by booking a ticket with 2Go Travel. This left our household shorthanded, and for the next three months we ran ourselves ragged to the point that Albert and I spent most of the day taking care of the kids and not working. Albert finally insisted that we find a new helper to lighten the load with the necessary extra precautions.

READ THIS FIRST: Screening & Interview

Before we dive into COVID-19 testing for potential yaya hires, read how we interview with sample questions and tips here.

Quarantine Is A MUST

We had a satisfactory applicant referred by my friend’s yaya. I explained to her over the phone that she would need to undergo a 5-day quarantine, then a swab test, then wait for a negative results before we would let her join us. We would be paying for all the expenses associated with her quarantine.

If the test was positive, she would remain in quarantine for another fourteen days and have a test taken again.

If the test was negative, she could finish her quarantine and begin her work responsibilities

Fake News

By the way, we interviewed a lot of applicants and some believed the fake news that the swab would reach their brain (I don’t know why.) Others had apprehensions about the pain level of the swab test, so I took it as maybe they really weren’t serious about looking for a job, or would probably be too maarte and wouldn’t be a good fit for our household anyway.

Also, a warning – if an applicant seems to excited to get a swab test, they may just be pretending to want to work and using you (and your money!) to get a free swab test so that they can go home to the province.

Why 8-Day Quarantine?

Since we live in a condo, we used the helper’s room as her quarantine space, and passed all her meals and snacks to her.

Why 8 days? To be honest, if we had a separate quarantine space, we would probably have quarantined the applicant for 14 days to be sure before testing.

Reading up on COVID tests, Albert and I found the 8-day quarantine to be the bare minimum. Basically, if you swab an applicant the moment she arrives at your doorstep, it may register a negative result even if she is positive, giving you a false sense of security (and exposing your entire family to covid!) Five days isn’t a super guarantee, but we felt safe enough to implement this plan.

Don’t Scrimp – Use the RT PCR- Swab Test

There are many tests out there, but for peace of mind, we chose to book the PCR-Swab test since it is still currently the gold standard of covid tests. At the time we booked the test through an app, it cost around 6,000+ for a PCR-Swab home service. Recently, the DTI issued a memorandum to lower the prices to more reasonable rates.

It was really easy to book through the Zennya app. The Zennya app offers a lot of choices for what type of covid test, but go for the PCR Swab test for peace of mind.

Experience with Zennya

To make a booking for the swab test, you have to download the Zennya app and create your profile. I found the app very user-friendly, with crisp visuals and easy-to-navigate interface.

The Zennya staff was very professional and came in head-to-toe PPE. They had a questionnaire for our applicant to answer, and the nurse was very thorough and had a good bedside manner. The interview and swab process was done in about 15 minutes. Our helper said that the nasal swab was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t painful.

I was also pleasantly surprised to receive the results the next day. On the Zennya app, the turnaround time was 36 hours, but we got the PDF results in the app within 24 hours. We immediately ended the quarantine after receiving the negative result. What a relief!

Lowered PCR Swab Price

Zennya now the PCR-Swab offer it Php 3,800 for weekday bookings, which is very affordable compared to the other places I have canvassed with. Their rate for weekends is Php 6,275. If it’s your first time to use Zennya, you can get a P200 discount using this code: angeli7rvd. Payment via credit card only as of now.

Keeping Helpers Happy

I’m also writing a post on how to keep our helpers happy and healthy during the pandemic season. As of now, we’ve negotiated that they forego their days-off to cash incentives, and gave them additional benefits as well. You can read more in the next post.

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