Negros Occidental rapid antigen tests expanded to 12 LGUs – Albee

Twelve Local Government Units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental will be joining the three-day expanded contact tracing and early detection drive through rapid antigen testing Saturday to Monday, October 9-11, provincial consultant on economic affairs Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez said Friday.

The drive was initially set to cover 10 LGUs but was expanded to 12, he added.

To be covered by the expanded contact tracing drive are the cities of Silay, Talisay, La Carlota, Himamaylan and Kabankalan, and the municipalities of Toboso, Salvador Benedicto, Pulupandan, San Enrique and Binalbagan, using the number of cases and daily attack rate as basis.

The towns of Pontevedra and Hinoba-an requested to be included, Benitez said.

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson issued a memorandum to all local chief executives outlining the guidelines on the roll-out and use of rapid antigen testing kits for the expanded contact tracing and early detection measures.

In a Zoom Meeting with the mayors and the Provincial Incident Management Team (PIMT), the governor discussed the roll out mechanisms.

He announced that the provincial government received an initial 6,500 Testing Kits from the Department of Health. These kits will be very useful in early detection of possible COVID-infected individuals and in effect, will enable the provincial government to institute control measures and prevent the rampant spread of the deadly virus that claimed so many lives, Lacson said.

Benitez said he has been helping address the health concerns of the province so that it can jump-start its economic activities to provide jobs that will alleviate the plight of Negrenses, especially in this time of pandemic.

He is also helping the province in getting more testing kits so that more people can be tested, Benitez said.

Benitez said he tapped the services of Dr. Eric Saratan as a liaison or point person in coordinating with the local chief executives.

The Provincial Health Office under Dr. Ernell Tumimbang has been tasked to be the lead implementer of the activity, he added.

A total of 120 medical technologists from various LGUs and the Hospital Operations Department (HOD) were trained by the Department of Health, Region VI, on how to administer the rapid antigen tests, Benitez said.

These medical technologists of the LGUs will be supervised by teams of senior medical technologists of the licensed laboratories of the nine government hospitals under the Hospital Operations Department led by the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital molecular laboratory staff, Benitez added.*

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