BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental provincial government will conduct coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) rapid antigen testing (RAT) primarily among close contacts of confirmed cases in 10 local government units (LGUs) starting October 9.
In a memorandum issued to all city and municipal mayors, and health officers on Wednesday night, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the roll-out of RAT kits aims to speed up contact tracing efforts and provide alternative means of testing for Negrenses.
“Initially, only select cities and municipalities shall be provided with the testing kits. However, the Provincial Incident Management Team (PIMT) shall continue to evaluate the effectiveness of this effort and may propose the inclusion of additional LGUs depending on arising needs,” he added.
Those covered by the roll-out, based on the average attack rate for the past seven days, are the cities of La Carlota, Talisay, Himamaylan, Kabankalan, Silay as well as the towns of Pulupandan, Binalbagan, Toboso, San Enrique, and Don Salvador Benedicto.
Individuals who test positive in rapid testing will be isolated and managed as Covid-19 cases, but pending guidelines from the Department of Health, these cases will not yet be added to the daily count of positive cases of the LGUs, the memorandum said.
Meanwhile, those who are asymptomatic that test negative in the RAT will be tested again 48 to 72 hours after the release of the first result.
Those who are symptomatic will be tested with the same RAT, or RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test, if testing capacity permits, based on the discretion of the local health office.
Symptomatic individuals who test negative after a second RAT will be discharged after completion of 10-day isolation, inclusive of at least three days of being asymptomatic.
Close contacts residing in the same household will be subjected to immediate rapid testing, with those testing negative to undergo repeat tests after five days either through RT-PCR or RAT.
Testing will also be allowed for people coming from an area with a high positivity rate averaged over seven days, and also for those residing in closed or semi-closed institutions and crowded areas with a presumptive outbreak or confirmed outbreaks.
As of October 6, Negros Occidental has logged 30,175 confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 4,214 active cases; 25,022 recoveries; and 939 deaths. (PNA)