BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Without any sign that COVID-19 active cases in Negros Occidental are decreasing in numbers, Provincial Consultant on Economic Affairs and Investment Alfredo “Albee” Benitez is mulling the possibility of expanding the contact tracing through the Rapid Antigen Test all over the province.
Benitez yesterday described 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 infection of 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 stressed.
The expanded contract tracing efforts of the provincial government of Negros Occidental, entered on its second day yesterday in cities of Silay, Talisay, La Carlota, Himamaylan and Kabankalan, as well as municipalities of Toboso, Salvador Benedicto, Pulupandan, San Enrique and Binalbagan, using the number of cases and daily attack rate as basis.
Those who will be tested negative but with symptoms and high risks will undergo the RT-PCR test, Benitez added.
Based on their records, Benitez said 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.
Individuals who test positive during rapid testing shall be isolated, and managed as Covid-19 cases, according to a memorandum issued by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson.
Diaz said the Provincial Health Office bought 6,500 rapid antigen testing kits for their expanded contact tracing activities, and will procure 10,000 more testing kits for utilization in the different local government units.
This was on top of 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.*