SOME 20,000 Negrenses will be tested for the Covid-19 virus as the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental will start on Saturday, October 9, the rapid antigen testing (RAT) rollout in five cities and five municipalities in the province.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson earlier issued the guidelines on the rollout and use of rapid antigen testing kits for the expanded contact tracing effort and early detection measures.
The areas covered for the rapid antigen testing are the cities of La Carlota, Talisay, Himamaylan, Kabankalan, Silay and the towns of Pulupandan, Binalbagan, Toboso, San Enrique and Don Salvador Benedicto.
The cities and municipalities were determined based on the Covid-19 daily attack rates for the past seven days.
The goal of the testing is to carry out as many tests as possible, thereby increasing the chance of detecting individuals, both those who are with symptoms and those who are asymptomatic, making sure they self-isolate as soon as possible, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said.
Diaz said local government units (LGUs) will conduct the test with training and support from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) in coordination with the Department (DOH) for licensing and accreditation.
Allocation of the rapid testing kits will be ten test kits for every positive case, he said.
Based on the guidelines issued by the governor, individuals who tested positive in the rapid antigen test will be isolated and managed as Covid-19 case, but they will not be included in the daily count cases of the local government units pending the recommendation from the DOH.
Positive results, however, will be encoded by the LGUs to the Antigen Test Reporting Template of a licensed or participating laboratory within 24 hours.
The daily totals and initial results will be submitted daily at 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, asymptomatic close contacts that tested negative will be retested within 48 to 72 hours of initial negative result.
All symptomatic close contacts will undergo the same rapid antigen testing or RT-PCR at the discretion of the local health office.
However, if the result of the symptomatic close contacts remains negative after the second rapid antigen test, they will be discharged after 10 days of isolation or the last three days of being asymptomatic.
Close contacts residing in the same household, on the other hand, will undergo rapid antigen test and those who tested negative will be again subjected to a repeat test or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test upon the discretion of the local health office after five days.
The guidelines stated that if the result in the rapid antigen test is negative again, a retest will be done within 48 to 72 hours for confirmation.
Testing will also be allowed to those individuals coming from areas with high positivity rates for the last seven days based on the report from the DOH-Epidemiology Bureau and people residing within closed or semi-closed institutions with presumptive outbreaks.
Only the DOH-approved and recommended rapid antigen test kits will be used in this effort, it said.
The Provincial Incident Management Team will evaluate the effectiveness of the expanded contact tracing and early detection measures and may propose the inclusion of other areas if the need arises, it added.