The city government has established three community-based antigen swabbing centers to increase its testing capacity for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Mayor Ronnel Rivera said Thursday the swabbing centers are fully operational and catering to returning residents as well as probable and suspected patients from the city’s 26 barangays.
These are located at the SPED Integrated School in Barangay San Isidro, City Sports Complex in Barangay Calumpang, and Dadiangas West Central Elementary School in Barangay Dadiangas West.
The mayor said the local government has standby stocks of around 18,000 antigen test kits for the three swabbing centers that are expected to last until January next year.
“We’re planning to open three more additional swabbing centers, particularly at the airport, seaport and major entry points of the city,” he said in a report.
A project briefer said the three facilities are strategically located within the assigned cluster barangays, with each composed of six to 11 areas.
These are intended to serve returning locally stranded individuals, overseas Filipino workers, authorized persons outside residence, and close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 patients.
Each swabbing center has assigned medical technologists from the City Health Office (CHO) and support personnel from other units of the city government.
CHO has adopted a queuing and crowd control system for the screening and assigned specific areas for the assessment of clients, a booth for swab collection, and a processing area for the analysis of the specimen.
Rivera said they established the swabbing centers to facilitate the early identification, isolation, and treatment of possible Covid-19 cases.
He said it is also aimed to help decongest testing at the local government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital molecular laboratory, which handles Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Health earlier approved the use of rapid antigen screening to test probable and suspected Covid-19 patients, subject to confirmatory RT-PCR testing.
An antigen test, considered to have a high accuracy rate, is a diagnostic test that looks for viral proteins from samples collected through a nasal swab. (PNA)