Baguio Mayor orders tests for barangay officials, volunteers

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BAGUIO CITY  – The local government will be intensifying the targeted and expanded tests for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the city with the combination of rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test to barangay officials and volunteers.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said that there are some 3,000 available rapid test kits and nearly 20,000 RT-PCR test kits that could be used by the health personnel in the conduct of the targeted and expanded tests to achieve the needed peace of mind on the rate of COVID infection in the city.

He disclosed that health personnel should increase the conduct of rapid tests to 300 to 400 tests daily while RT-PCR tests should also be increased to at least 200 daily to ensure that more people will be tested because of the presence of asymptomatic COVID patients that had been previously discovered.

The local chief executive also ordered the conduct of rapid or RT-PCR tests to officials and employees of the local government, barangay officials, barangay health workers, barangay nutrition action officers among other volunteers that have been assessed by the health personnel to undergo such tests.

Further, he directed the city Health Services office (CHSO) to coordinate with the different regional line agencies to ascertain the officials and employees that should be tested to maximize the use of the available test kits.

According to him, some 40,000 RT-PCR test kits are expected to arrive courtesy of the national task force against COVID to help in increasing the testing capacity of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC), the designated sub-national testing laboratory in Northern Luzon.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo revealed that some 50 rapid tests are being conducted by the assigned personnel daily while the BGHMC has devoted some 200 RT-PCR tests for swab samples taken from the city daily, thus, the need to maximize the available test kits for the frontliners and vulnerable sectors.

She stated that appropriate coordination will be done with the barangays for the identification of the people that must be tested while officials and employees of the local government will be required to undergo the rapid test to ascertain those who will be reactive and subsequently be subjected to the RT-PCR test.

The city health officer asserted that the RT-PCR test remains to be the gold standard for COVID while the rapid test is not a stand-alone test as it requires confirmation by the RT-PCR test.

At present, Baguio City has a total of 36 confirmed COVID cases where 30 individuals were able to recover, 5 remain as active cases and 1 death.

Galpo explained that except for the lone COVID-related death which had been considered as critical case, all of the confirmed COVID cases in the city are mild cases that allowed most of them to recover and awaiting the recovery of the 5 remaining active cases.

By Dexter A. See

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