Negros-wide expanded contact tracing eyed

PHOTO CAPTION: Negros Occidental has kicked off expanded contact tracing efforts with the use of rapid antigen tests, which are rapid diagnostic tests suitable for point-of-care testing that directly detects the presence or absence of an antigen (Wikipedia). According to provincial consultant Albee Benitez (foreground), pilot testing has commenced in select towns and cities and deemed successful./iNews

BACOLOD CITY–The provincial government of Negros is planning to conduct expanded contact tracing with the use of rapid antigen tests all over the province, Provincial Consultant on Economic Affairs and Investment Alfredo “Albee” Benitez announced.

Benitez described the first day of the rapid antigen testing on October 9 in 12 Negros Occidental towns and cities as “successful”, with 56 individuals or nine percent of the 599 persons subjected to contact tracing testing positive for the virus.

He said that they are presently coordinating with other LGUs to test all possible spreaders and close contacts of those who tested positive.

“Our aim is to catch the COVID-19 spreaders,” Benitez stated.

The expanded contract tracing efforts of the provincial government of Negros Occidental kicked off its second day yesterday in the cities of Silay, Talisay, La Carlota, Himamaylan, and Kabankalan as well as in the municipalities of Toboso, Salvador Benedicto, Pulupandan, San Enrique, and Binalbagan, using the number of cases and daily attack rate as the basis.

Those who test negative but have symptoms or are at high risk will undergo RT-PCR testing, Benitez said.

On the other hand, individuals who test positive during the rapid testing shall be isolated and managed as COVID-19 cases, as per a memorandum issued by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson.

According to Benitez, Kabankalan City and Pontevedra have the highest number of persons tested with positive results, with 12 each; Binalbagan-7; Silay-6; Talisay-5; Toboso-4; La Carlota -3; Hinoba-an-3, and Himamaylan City-1.

Atty. Rayfrando Diaz III, provincial administrator, said the Provincial Health Office bought 6,500 rapid antigen testing kits for their expanded contact tracing activities and will procure 10,000 more for utilization in the different local government units.

These are in addition to the antigen testing kits sent by the Department of Health to the provincial government, he added.

Diaz also noted 10 of the 12 pilot areas for expanded contact tracing efforts in Negros Occidental contributed 75 percent of the total COVID-19 active cases in the province. (Eugene Y. Adiong/iNews-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)

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