High-risk industry workers volunteer for COVID 19 test

June 17, 2020 at 6:57 am Leave a comment

DAGUPAN CITY – One Friday morning, ambulant vendor Maricel Erfe, 33, left the fish she was selling to avail of the free rapid antibody test for CoVID 19 offered by the city government to high-risk industry workers.

“We have to prioritize this (testing) because we want to be sure of our health and life,  as we do not know our enemy and we deal with many costumers,” Erfe, a mother of four kids, said.

Pedro Ceralde, 60, a tricycle driver, also came early to be tested although he thought he was not infected of the deadly disease because he practices good hygiene and has alcohol in his tricycle for the use of his passengers.

But it is the exactly the asymptomatic residents why the government is conducting rapid antibody testing, Mayor Brian Lim said.

“Our goal is to ensure that the asymptomatic persons won’t infect the immunocompromised or vulnerable persons. It is better to have 100 cases and zero death than one case and one death,” he said.

He cited the case of the 80-year old fatality from the city who got the virus from someone who came from Metro Manila but who showed no symptoms for the disease.

“We do not know who the infected are unless we conduct risk-based testing which is synonymous with targeted mass testing. It is the only way,” Lim said, adding that the city government purchased 2,000 rapid test kits for industry workers who would be prioritized based on their being high risk.

Among the vulnerable industries “invited” to the free testing are market vendors, tricycle operators and drivers association, delivery service providers, boatmen, security guards, fire brigade volunteers, food establishment operators, grocery and supermarket personnel, banks and other vulnerable industries.

Those found reactive will be immediately swabbed for specimens which will be sent to the Philippine Red Cross for confirmatory tests using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

The city government is also conducting the RT-PCR test for frontliners and has so far swabbed 758 persons. Fourteen of them tested positive for the corona virus and 13 were confined at the Region 1 Medical Center and one at the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital.

Lim said the city government purchased 2,140 PCR and 2,000 anti-rapid test kits for the risk-based testing activity.  The city has partnered with the Red Cross of the Philippines whose laboratory is used for the tests.

“We cannot test everyone, not even the rich countries can do that, so we are targeting those who face risks daily,” he said, adding that the city plans to buy more test kits.

Lim also said there was no need to be afraid whenever positive cases are found out.

“You should over the fear of seeing positive patients. Finding asymptomatic is not negative (development), but a positive one, so you can do contract tracing , isolating, treating,” he said, after he got reports that Dagupan gets negative image because of having the most number of positive cases among LGUs in Pangasinan.

“Ano ito, contest na pababaan ng number of cases? Then let us not test anymore so we will not find the asymptomatic cases and have zero cases,” he said.

While most LGUs conduct clinical testing for COVID 19, or tests only those who have symptoms of the disease, Dagupan is conducting epidemiological testing which studies the spread of the disease in a certain population.


Entry filed under: News.

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