The city’s top health official on Thursday said senior citizens and health workers remain as the priority sectors in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing efforts.
City Health Services Office chief Dr. Rowena Galpo, in a phone interview, said this is in compliance with the Department of Health’s (DOH) directive prioritizing health workers, the elderly, and persons with comorbidities in the testing, as the country sees a surge in Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.
“Priority testing for health care workers is being done for surveillance purposes to plan for adequate health system capacity,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said senior citizens and persons with comorbidities are among vulnerable sectors, thus the need for testing and to determine if they can be given drugs against Covid-19.
She said antigen testing is encouraged when symptomatic and when reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing is not available.
Galpo added that for the rest of the population who are asymptomatic, testing is only done to confirm Covid-19 infection after exposure to a positive case.
She said based on the DOH guidelines, testing is optional if no symptoms but quarantine is advised as well as monitoring of symptoms.
The city government uses sensitive antigen test kits, which Mayor Benjamin Magalong said, are 99 percent efficient. This means a person who tested positive in antigen test is already regarded as Covid-19 positive and is required to undergo isolation.
For the rest of the population with Covid-19 symptoms, testing is still optional to confirm the health status after the onset of symptoms. However, immediate isolation, home care, and teleconsultation are advised.
Omicron cases rise to 9, all recovered
Meanwhile, the number of Omicron coronavirus variant cases in the city has climbed to nine, after seven more cases of the highly transmissible variant were recorded.
In an update, Aileen Refuerzo, city information officer, said this was based on the January 25 biosurveillance report received by the Department of Health (DOH)-Cordillera from the Philippine Genome Center (PGC).
Refuerzo, meanwhile, said all of these cases have already recovered.
Last week, the city recorded its first two Omicron cases.
Prior to the DOH-Cordillera’s confirmation, Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier said they have already assumed that the Omicron variant is already in the city, considering the rapid increase in the number of infections that started earlier this month. (PNA)