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The city will now be using antigen as an additional detection tool against the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19 to help in containing the ongoing rapid surge in cases that already caused the full occupancy of private and public health facilities.
Mayor Benjamin B. Maglong stated that he already sought the clearance and clarification of the national anti-COVID-19 task force on the matter and antigen is allowed to be used as an added detection tool.
He disclosed that if an individual tests positive with the use of the antigen, the person will be automatically considered as positive of the virus without undergoing the confirmatory reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
Further, individuals that test positive of COVID-19 with the use of the antigen will automatically be required to be immediately isolated to prevent them from transmitting the virus that will contribute to the drastic increase in the number of cases in the city which is now congesting the health facilities and the established isolation centers.
According to him, the city is using a quality antigen test that is why the outcome of the test being undertaken is similar to the results of the RT-PCR test which is the gold standard in ascertaining if a person is infected with the deadly virus.
The local chief executive stipulated that with the allowed use of the antigen as an additional detection tool against the virus, contact tracing efforts and the determination of those that are already infected with the virus will be much easier and will allow infected people to be immediately separated from the healthy ones to avoid the unnecessary surge in cases in the different barangays.
On the other hand, the mayor explained that the local government, in coordination with the health department, is already using the Baguio City Community Isolation Unit (BCCIU) as a step up facility where moderate and severe COVID-19 cases are provided with appropriate medical attention.
Moreover, he added that said patients are also being administered the prescribed medicines with the help of volunteer doctors who committed their support to help in providing the appropriate health care to the patients being brought to the facility for immediate medical attention.
The local government recently partnered with a private entity to provide the required laboratory and medical services to the COVID-19 patients who are moderate and severe being brought to the isolation unit because the public and private health facilities are already filled up as a result of the ongoing surge in cases triggered by the more infectious Delta variant.
Aside from being an accredited isolation unit, the BCCIU is located at the former Sto. Nin֮o Hospital is also serving both as a step down and step up facility and a staging area for COVID-19 patients awaiting their turn to be accommodated in the various private and public hospitals in the city as the same had already reached their maximum capacity due to the rapid increase in cases since last month. By Dexter A. See