4 Mankayan barangays still COVID-19 free

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MANKAYAN, Benguet – Four barangays in the municipality remain free from the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) after no confirmed cases were recorded since the start of the implementation of the various levels of community quarantine to combat the spread of the virus in the country last March.

Mayor Frenzel A. Ayong stated that the town’s barangays that have not yet recorded any COVID case over the past seven months include Sapid, Bulalacao, Cabiten and Colalo.

While there are some barangays that have reflected zero COVID cases based on the data from the municipal health office, he explained that the earlier reported cases from the said barangays have recovered from the virus after being subjected to either home isolation or confinement in different hospitals in nearby areas.

He said that members of the barangay health emergency response teams (BHERTs) have been empowered to effectively and efficiently handle suspected and probable COVID cases to prevent the possible spread of the virus through local or community transmission.

The municipal chief executive added that most of the confirmed COVID cases from the different barangays were immediately provided with appropriate medical attention while their close contacts were subjected to the required tests that contributed in the efforts to contain the spread of the virus and ensure the health and safety of the people.

Mankayan record some 22 COVID cases since early June with only 3 of them as active cases who are now being treated in several health and isolation facilities inside and outside the municipality.

Mayor Ayong disclosed the municipality proved the efficacy of the antigen test as its detection and screening tool as those that tested negative in the antigen amidst having symptoms tested negative in the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

On the other hand, the municipal mayor claimed the latest COVID patient in the municipality who was confined at the Lepanto community hospital tested positive in both the antigen and PCR test that is why he proposed to the medical team to consider the antigen as a screening and detection tool so that appropriate actions could already be implemented once there will be a red alert.

According to him, once there will be individuals that test positive in the antigen test that is much cheaper, then they could already be immediately isolated to prevent them from possibly transmitting the virus while awaiting the confirmatory RT-PCR test.

He emphasized that while the antigen test is not the gold standard, it still plays a key role in screening and detecting suspected and probable cases for them to be immediately isolated to prevent the possible transmission of the virus while subjecting the aforesaid test to the RT-PCR test.

He stipulated that the town has available isolation facilities for suspected and probable cases so that there will be no congestion in the municipal health facilities in case there will be sudden surge in cases. By HENT