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Swab test for symptomatic persons only – Gov
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Thursday, February 11, 2021
Gov. Gwen Garcia reminds city and municipal health officers of Cebu Province that swab tests are only administered to persons who show symptoms of Covid-19, not to asymptomatic persons. (Tonee Despojo)

Any request for a swab test from a person showing no symptoms of Covid-19 will not be entertained nor accommodated. Tests should only be done on those who are exhibiting symptoms.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia reiterated this in a meeting with Cebu Province’s city and municipal health officers today, February 11.

“I believe ang protocol ninyo – once fever sets in. Dili nga mitulo lang nang gamayng sip-on diha, symptom na na. Or nanikma o natuk-an sa sabaw nag-ubo-ubo na, symptom na dayon. Fever ang atong threshold along with one or two other symptoms,” she said.

This has been stated in the memorandum issued by the governor on February 3 to all mayors and health officers of the Province’s municipalities and component cities.

Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test, otherwise known as swab test, determines whether a person is infected with Covid-19 or not. 

Swab samples are taken from the nose or throat that will be used to identify the actual presence of the coronavirus in the patient’s body.

The governor’s memorandum asserts the guidelines set by the Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum No. 2020-512 dated November 26, 2020 on Covid-19 testing for asymptomatic persons, or those who show no symptoms of the coronavirus. 

The DOH memorandum stated that all asymptomatic persons suspected of having contracted Covid-19 shall immediately be quarantined and monitored for ten days without undergoing an RT-PCR test.

Local government units (LGU) concerned must include in their report to the Provincial Health Office the name, age, and circumstance of the individual subjected to an RT-PCR test as well as the specific reason it was administered.

The DOH memo also said that when an asymptomatic close contact is identified and traced, they must undergo immediate quarantine and be monitored, whether or not symptoms will manifest during the said period.

If symptoms do not manifest, the close contacts must be discharged ten days after the date of their last exposure to the probable or confirmed case.

If symptoms develop, they shall be admitted to a Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (TTMF) and be tested using RT-PCR, or if not available, an antigen test. 

If results are negative, they will be discharged after the 10-day isolation has been completed, including at least three days of being asymptomatic. 

If results come out positive, they shall be isolated, managed and discharged following the set protocols.

Moreover, Garcia challenged the city and municipal health officers to meet their vaccination targets on oral polio, anti-measles and anti-rubella by February 21.

DOH 7 Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas disclosed that Cebu Province got only 31-percent accomplishment so far.

The governor said those who achieve the 100-percent vaccination target by the third week of February will be rewarded.

“Dili lang ko mosulti unsay premyo pero mohatag gyud ta og premyo nga kanang mapuslan gyud ninyo kay dili ta mosugot nga maiwit uy. Maningkamot ta. Mao gud ni pinakadato nga probinsya sa tibuok Pilipinas, dili ta mosugot nga maiwit,” Garcia expressed.

“Everyone is taking notice sa atong mga pamaagi labi na sa hagit sa Covid-19. Kahibalo ko nga duna moy daghang challenges tungod adtong nahitabo nga Dengvaxia. Dunay reluctance. Pero naa ra sad na sa inyong pagpasabot,” she stated. (Eleanor Valeros)