GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The provincial government of Sarangani has so far tested over 70,000 residents for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in nearly six months, in line with its expanded risk-based targeted testing strategy.
Dr. Arvin Alejandro, Sarangani health officer, said on Monday that the free testing, which is still ongoing in its seven municipalities, is considered as among the factors that had been helping control the spread of the disease in the area since May.
He said they have so far utilized a total of 71,326 rapid antigen test kits in the continuing community-based testing.
As of 6 p.m. Sunday, Sarangani still has the lowest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and related deaths in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) since March last year, with 6,081 and 96, respectively.
The active cases in the area are currently at 701, while 5,284 patients have recovered.
Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon ordered the rollout of the risk-based targeted testing last May to immediately track Covid-19 cases in the communities.
Those who turn out positive in the antigen testing are subjected to immediate isolation and confirmatory reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR procedure.
Alejandro said in a statement that they continued to implement the program in the wake of the continuing threats posed by the spread of Covid-19 “variants of concern.”
“We were able to capture Covid-19 carriers, especially those asymptomatic before they can further spread the disease,” he said.
He said the provincial government, through Solon and other officials, has allocated ample funds to sustain the program’s implementation.
Each rapid antigen test kit costs PHP450 to PHP750, depending on the brand.
Bong Yadao, provincial medical technologist and head of the Sarangani diagnostic and testing support team, said they were able to continuously expand the testing as the delivery of test kits remained unhampered.
Aside from residents in high-risk areas, he said the testing covered persons deprived of liberty or detainees that are being committed to the provincial jail in Alabel town and the district jails managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
Yadao said several companies operating in the province, among them the Sarangani Energy Corporation and Alsons Company, helped provide the test kits for the screening of their workers. (PNA)