Lack of frontliners slows rapid antigen testing: guv

Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson on Tuesday, October 12, commended the Pontevedra local government for its organized and effective contact tracing system for rapid antigen testing (RAT).

“We commend Pontevedra, they have a team for contact tracing and another team for (COVID-19) vaccination,” he said, so their RAT drive on Saturday was a success.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive, there are some areas that do not have enough frontliners to also carry out the RAT at a faster pace, he said.

Lacson said while the initial RAT rollout was conducted in 11 local government units, they would like to conduct it in more towns and cities, especially in areas that are ready.

Pontevedra Mayor Jose Maria Alonso said the provincial government had initially identified 10 local government units to be covered by the RAT and he asked that his town be included.

Alonso said the RAT results are out in about 30 minutes that enables them to immediately isolate COVID-19 close contacts before they can further spread the virus.

The RAT kits were provided by the provincial government, he said.

Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz also said of the 11 areas covered, Pontevedra stood out as the most organized and systematic local government unit in the implementation of the RAT despite the short notice of the activity.

Records show that 12 out of the 85 close contacts had tested positive in the rapid antigen testing in the town on Saturday, he said.

The positivity rate was 14.12 percent, he said, adding that those who tested positive were isolated and treated as confirmed COVID-19 positive cases.

Diaz described the contract tracing system of the municipality as a classic example of cooperation and teamwork spearheaded by Alonso, Municipal Health Officer Dr. Johnson Zuluaga and the Pontevedra DRRM Office.

Two medical technologists from the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital Molecular Laboratory oversaw and supervised the maiden RAT rollout with the supervision of Dr. Francis Relota, Chief of Clinics.

Lacson had earlier issued guidelines on the rollout and use of rapid antigen testing to 20,000 Negrenses to hasten its contact tracing efforts.*

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