Ilocos Sur Red Cross offers cheaper COVID-19 saliva test

VIGAN CITY β€” Ilocos Sur residents can now avail of cheaper and painless COVID-19 testing as the
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) – Ilocos Sur Chapter starts offering saliva tests.

PRC-Ilocos Sur Chapter Administrator Veronica Tactay, speaking at the Serbisyo Publiko media forum of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Ilocos Sur Information Center on Friday, said that saliva testing is 98 percent accurate.

She explained further, that like the nasopharyngeal swab test, saliva tests also undergo reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique. They only differ in the method of specimen collection.

β€œCompared to the nasopharyngeal swab, wherein a sterile swab is inserted through a nostril and into the nasopharynx, the saliva test is considered less painful if not totally painless as patients only have to spit into a tube that will then be submitted to a PCR laboratory for analysis,” Tactay said.

Saliva tests are cheaper at Php 2,000 compared to nasopharyngeal swab tests which cost around Php 3,800 to Php 5,000

Individuals in need of testing may book online at Payments are collected in advance via BDO, Gcash or credit card. They should not eat, drink, smoke, brush their teeth or use mouthwash for at least 30 minutes before sample collection.

Specimens are collected at the PRC-Ilocos Sur Chapter office along Burgos Street, Vigan City from 8 AM to 3 PM, Mondays to Saturdays and even Sundays if there are scheduled bookings.

After saliva collection, tested individuals are advised to isolate until the results are released, usually within 24 to 48 hours from sample collection. Results are sent through email.

Meanwhile, Gov. Ryan Luis Singson issued Executive Order (EO) 32 last Wednesday extending the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status of Candon City and Suyo, and adding municipalities of Caoayan, Salcedo and Sta. Cruz in the list of areas to undergo stricter community quarantine from April 22 to May 5, 2021.

The municipalities of Alilem and Sugpon are also under an MECQ status until April 30, 2021.

Singson cited the continuing threat of COVID-19 in the province, with most of the recorded cases coming from the said municipalities and city as reasons for implementing stricter quarantine on said areas.

The municipalities of Bantay, Cabugao, Cervantes, Narvacan, San Esteban, Santa, Sta Maria, Sta. Lucia, Sinait, Tagudin, and the city of Vigan have all reverted to the more relaxed modified general community quarantine on April 22 as scheduled.

Vigan City, however, has decided to keep its entry checkpoints and continues to require visitors to present valid IDs, quarantine pass for those coming from MECQ areas, and pink slips for workers.

As of April 23, Ilocos Sur has recorded a total of 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in which 131 are active, and 857 have recovered. The province has 12 fatalities. (with reports from PIA Ilocos Sur) ●