15 Senate employees found ‘positive’ in rapid testing

Published May 4, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

At least 15 Senate employees have tested positive for possible COVID-19 based on the rapid tests conducted Monday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III confirmed.

Senators and their staff underwent rapid testing before the resumption of sessions in the Upper Chamber on May 4, 3 p.m.

Sotto said almost 500 of their personnel were tested, and 15 turned out positive as of 5:34 p.m.

The concerned employees consist of staff members of senators, one is a waiter, while the rest are from the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian confirmed one of those who tested positive for possible COVID-19 was one of his staff members.

He, however, expressed hope that the anti-body detected from his staff member is not coronavirus.

“It’s too preliminary to panic because hindi mo naman na-detect na COVID-19…The rapid test is an indication that there is a possibility of some staff contracting the virus,” Gatchalian said in an interview.

“Ang problema with this rapid test mataas ang false negative,” he also noted.

During their plenary session, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said one of his staff members was also among those who tested positive in the rapid test.

Sotto said the concerned employees were sent to hospitals to confirm their results using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and would undergo quarantine later.

Before this, three senators contracted the novel coronavirus: Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.

The three said they recovered from the disease. Angara, however, bared he again tested positive for the COVID-19, although believing that this was only the remnants of the virus.

Also earlier, it was announced that at least four staff members of senators were infected with COVID-19. Last March, a male employee of Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. died due to the virus.