BACOLOD CITY – Twelve local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental are being targeted in the three-day coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) rapid antigen testing (RAT) roll-out starting Saturday as part of the province’s expanded contact tracing and early detection measures.
Initially, only the cities of La Carlota, Talisay, Himamaylan, Kabankalan, and Silay, along with municipalities of Pulupandan, Binalbagan, Toboso, San Enrique, and Don Salvador Benedicto were covered, but the towns of Pontevedra and Hinobaan requested to be included as well.
These LGUs were selected based on the average Covid-19 attack rate in the past seven days.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the provincial government received an initial 6,500 testing kits from the Department of Health (DOH) for the roll-out aimed at initiating the early detection of possible Covid-9 infected individuals.
In an earlier memorandum, Lacson said the use of RAT kits, primarily among close contacts of confirmed cases, intends to speed up contact tracing efforts and provide an alternative means of testing for Negrenses.
Bacolod City mayoralty candidate Alfredo Benitez, who acts as Capitol consultant, said the health concerns of the province should be addressed to jump-start economic activities that will provide jobs amid the pandemic.
Benitez, former congressman of the third district, added that he is helping the province obtain more testing kits, and has tapped the services of Dr. Eric Saratan, former Talisay mayor, as liaison or point person coordinating with the LGUs during the roll-out.
As the lead implementer, the Provincial Health Office headed by Dr. Ernell Tumimbang is being assisted by all component units of the Provincial Incident Management Team.
A total of 120 medical technologists from various LGUs and provincial government-run hospitals trained under the DOH are up for deployment during the RAT roll-out.
As of October 8, Negros Occidental has logged 30,505 confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 4,269 active cases; 25,274 recoveries; and 962 deaths. (PNA)