By Liezle Basa Inigo
PANGASINAN – The Dagupan City government commenced mass testing of its frontliners for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) after it availed of the Philippine Red Cross’ (PRC) laboratory testing services.
Four swabbing booths have been set up at the Dagupan City Astrodome for the risk-based COVID-19 testing, which could provide for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results within 48 hours, faster than the Department of Health’s turnaround time of five days to one week.
At least 144 medical frontliners were the first from among the more than 600 frontliners who were first swabbed, including Dagupan City Mayor Marc Brian C. Lim, on May 27.
Lim said the city has allotted 2,000 test kits for RT-PCR, along with 2,000 rapid anti-body test kits (RATK), to ensure the safety of doctors and nurses, the police, firemen, members of the Public Order and Safety Office, employees of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, barangay officials, employees of private hospitals and high-risk industries.
The swab test will be sent to the PRC laboratory in Metro Manila every afternoon, and the results will be electronically transmitted to the City Health Office.
Dr. Ophelia T. Rivera, the city’s focal person on COVID-19 issues, said they will initiate contact tracing immediately if anyone tests positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health’s (DOH) testing laboratory in Region 2 has officially started its operation after a successful dry run May 27 at the Cagayan Valley Center for Health Development TB Reference Laboratory.
DOH Region 2 Director Dr. Letecia Cabrera said: “Mapapabilis na ang resulta ng swab test ng mga specimen na mula sa iba’t-ibang ospital sa Region 2 na dati ay dinadala pa sa Baguio General Hospital.”
Cabrera, however, was hoping that they will be provided with two additional PCR machines in anticipation for the influx of overseas Filipino workers who will be coming from Metro Manila.
She urged everyone to remain vigilant and compliant with the protocols to make Region 2 remain free from the virus.