Sarangani rolls out targeted Covid-19 testing

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Sarangani provincial government aims to test around 6,000 residents until the end of the month for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as part of an expanded community-based surveillance.

Federico Yadao, medical technologist of the Sarangani Provincial Health Office, said Thursday the move seeks to curb the increasing locally transmitted cases in the area.  

Members of the diagnostic and testing support teams started the activity on Wednesday, May 19, and will run until May 29, Yadao said.

Dubbed “Blue Angels,” he said the teams are composed of medical technologists, doctors, swabbers, and encoders who are equipped with “jump kits” containing personal protective equipment, disinfectants, vitamins, and specimen carrier.

Yadao said the teams are tasked to conduct antigen and Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction testing (RT-PCR) to probable Covid-19 patients.

He said they expect a surge of confirmed cases in various localities as they identify and test more individuals in the coming days.

“But that will also enable us to properly isolate the patients and further control the community transmission. In two weeks, the cases are also expected to decrease,” he told reporters.

Yadao said the local government opted for the targeted instead of mass testing to cover more areas with the available resources.

Sarangani's confirmed cases have significantly increased in the last two weeks but officials said it was an offshoot of their improved contact tracing capacity.

Dr. Arvin Alejandro, provincial health officer, said they adopted a system that requires the tracking of all primary contacts of a confirmed case within 24 hours, and their immediate isolation and testing.

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, the active Covid-19 cases in the province stood at 216, the second-lowest in Region 12 (Soccsksargen).

The confirmed infections in the area since last year already reached a total of 973, with 739 listed as recovered. Its 18 recorded deaths are the lowest in the region. (PNA)


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