DOH-8 starts targeted mass testing next week
TACLOBAN CITY, Apr. 26 (PIA) — Mass Testing of suspected COVID-19 cases from four areas in Eastern Visayas will commence next week.
This was disclosed by Department of Health Regional Director Minerva Molon during the PIA Panindugan Virtual Kapihan on Friday.
Molon said the regional health office is eyeing Catarman in Northern Samar, Calbayog City and Tarangnan in Samar and Burauen in Leyte, where there are confirmed COVID-19 patients.
To recall, since March, seven people in the region have tested positive for the highly contagious disease.
Molon said DOH-8 has identified 138 people who will undergo mass testing using throat or oropharyngeal and nose or nasopharyngeal swabbing. This number does not yet include those listed by local governments from their contact tracing efforts, Molon added.
Those who are included in the mass testing are suspected COVID-19 patients who are either hospitalized or at home isolation, health workers and other vulnerable groups like the elderly and those with comorbidities and pregnant women who live in areas with confirmed cases, Molon said. Village frontliners in places with confirmed COVID-19-positive patients are also included in the mass testing.
The patients’ samples will be sent to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu.
However, Molon intimated that the lack of personal protective equipment remains a challenge.
“Ang aming challenge sa ngayon ay ang aming provision ng personal protective equipment dahil talangang kulang kami at hindi pa dumarating ‘yung supply namin. Iaasa namin ito sa ating local government units na siyang gagawa ng ating targeted testing,” Molon said.
She also admitted that DOH-8 also need more personnel to do the swab testing, which they will try to address by doing online training using online application.
At present, Molon said, there are only 38 trained personnel for the task for the entire Eastern Visayas. (PIA-8)