DOH orders twice-monthly rapid tests for employees

DOH orders twice-monthly rapid tests for employees

MANILA — As the country moves to kickstart a badly hit PH’s economy, the Department of Health has suggested for businesses to screen their workers randomly for the novel coronavirus through rapid tests every two (2) weeks.

The National Capital Region along with many other regions is now under relaxed lockdowns as such the DOH recommended for business establishments to check their workers to Covid-19 rapid tests at least two times or twice every month.

DOH undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said rapid tests are highly recommended as it detects the presence of antibodies that only emerge between the fifth and seventh day of illness, adding that the test is not recommended for mass screening and should instead be used on a random sample of workers.

“Para lang po makikita ninyo, mamo-monitor n’yo po iyong trend — kung nagkakaroon talaga ng kaso within your company,” Vergeire as he explained the importance of rapid tests for private companies.

She also stressed that the health department does not recommend “indiscriminate” nasal swab tests, which experts said were more accurate than rapid tests.

“Testing is a point-in-time event, meaning if you get tested today, tomorrow if you go out for work, you’ll get exposed and then maybe you’ll get the disease again… Kaya nga po ayaw natin ng indiscriminate ang testing. Let’s go for those high-risk individuals,” said the official.

As of this writing, the Philippines has 85 testing laboratories scattered nationwide. It has expanded its testing priority to cover not just those who have other health conditions that make them vulnerable to disease, but essential workers like health workers front liners, public utility drivers, waiters, teachers, and bank personnel, Vergeire explained.

A medical worker administers a nasal swab test
New York, New York — JULY 18: A medical worker wearing PPE administers a nasal swab test at a free coronavirus testing location outside Washington Square Park as the city moves into Phase 4. Governor Cuomo announced the city has been cleared for Phase 4 of re-opening starting July 20. /Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

As of Thursday, 23 July 2020, the Philippines has a national tally of 74,390 cases of the coronavirus including 24,383 recoveries and 1,871 deaths. That leaves the country with a total of 48,136 active cases.

In another report, however, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said the twice-monthly frequency rapid tests could be too costly for them handle given the situation of epic economic slump due the virus. (MTVN)

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