GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The provincial government of Sarangani plans to put up a drive-through swabbing facility for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) rapid antigen screening to expand its testing capacity further.
Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon said Monday the planned offsite swabbing center would cater to residents who want to be screened or tested for Covid-19 without queuing in hospitals and other established testing centers.
Those who want to avail of the service would have to pay to sustain the swabbing center’s operations, Solon said, adding the local government may subsidize the cost of testing for indigent residents.
“This will make (Covid-19) testing more available and accessible to our people. We have not yet done this, but we’re already working on the details,” Solon said in a radio interview.
He said the initiative is part of the provincial government’s efforts to increase its testing capacity for Covid-19 to facilitate the immediate isolation and treatment of positive cases.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Health have approved the use of rapid antigen screening to test probable and suspected Covid-19 patients, subject to confirmatory reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing.
An antigen test, considered to have a high accuracy rate, is a diagnostic test that looks for viral proteins from samples collected through a nasal swab.
Test results, which are validated in a laboratory, are released in 15 to 30 minutes. It is currently offered in some local hospitals at PHP1,000 to PHP1,500.
Sarangani has 73 active Covid-19 cases as of Sunday evening, based on a report released by the Department of Health-Region 12 (Soccsksargen).
A total of 243 patients have already recovered in the area out of the 327 cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic.
Solon said the provincial government is currently monitoring a surge in Covid-19 local transmission cases in the coastal municipalities of Glan and Maasim.
However, he said the situation in the two towns remained manageable.
“We’re making sure that we properly track, trace, isolate and restrict the identified patients to further lower disease transmission,” he said. (PNA)