Red Cross, gov’t to public: Exercise diligence in Covid testing

Philippine Red Cross Chairman & CEO Sen. Richard Gordon (File photo)

MANILA – Philippine Red Cross Chairman & CEO Sen. Richard Gordon, along with government officials and health experts reminded the public to exercise “extraordinary diligence” in getting tested for Covid-19.

This is because 8 out of 10 Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic, which means they cannot be detected and isolated based on temperature checks alone, according to Dr. Michael Tee from the University of the Philippines Manila. Some overseas Filipino workers who were supposedly screened and cleared abroad before flying to the Philippines also tested positive upon arrival, Tee and his team of researchers found out.

Gordon emphasized the importance of continuously testing, tracing, and treating the virus even amid the vaccination rollout. “Dapat talaga atupagin ng gobyerno ‘yan at atupagin ng tao na sila ay ma-test. Sapagkat kung hindi sila matitest, manghahawa sila kung sila ay may sakit. At kung sila ay mai-test, maililipat sila sa magandang lugar na magagamot sila, pipiliting pagalingin sila, at marami namang gumagaling (The government should really take care of that and have the public tested. If they’re not tested, they could infect someone if they are sick. And if they are tested, they can be transferred to a facility where they can be treated. They would be there to recover and many have recovered).”

This was seconded by Covid-19 Testing Czar Vince Dizon, who cited the increasing local cases of Covid-19 variants first detected in South Africa and the United Kingdom. The Health Department has also detected two “mutations of concern” in cases in Central Visayas.

“Kailangan po lalo pa nating pa-iigtingin ang ating testing, and kailangan naman po ay talagang pabilisin natin ang pagpapalaganap nitong mga Saliva Test (We should intensify our testing and we should facilitate and promote this saliva test),” Dizon said.

Since its launch last month, the PRC has processed almost 24,000 saliva samples using RT-PCR machines in their Molecular Laboratories nationwide. Gordon has also inked partnerships with the private sector to offer the cheaper, non-invasive, but accurate Saliva Tests in drive-thru collection booths in malls, and through home service. Dizon stressed that PRC’s Saliva RT-PCR Test is the only saliva test stringently reviewed and approved by regulators.

To date, the PRC leads Covid-19 testing in the country, having exceeded 2 million swab tests nationwide. This milestone accounts for 24 percent of the country’s testing output, and about 37 percent of testing in NCR. (PR)

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