Santa LGU conducts COVID-19 rapid antibody testing

SANTA, Ilocos Sur — Through the antibody rapid testing conducted by the health workers of the rural health unit (RHU) in Santa town, no positive Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) result was recorded out of the 583 individuals who were screened on May 14.

This is through the STAT or Santa Targeted Area Testing “Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate” program – an initiative of the local government unit (LGU), headed by Mayor Jesus Bueno, Jr. and Vice Mayor Jeremy Jesus Bueno III, as part of the anti-COVID-19 strategy of the LGU.

This aims to identify individuals who have active infection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) COV2, past infection with SARS COV 2 and who are likely immune from it, and no evidence of SARS COV2 infection at the community level.

“As approved by the Sangguniang Bayan of Santa, the LGU was able to utilize a total of Php 4,000,000 through the realignment of unexpended funds from the Bayanihan grant to cities and municipalities (Anti-COVID-19 Crisis Assistance Program) and the continuing Annual Development Fund (ADF) to purchase 5,000 pieces of rapid testing kits (Php 800.00/kit instead of Php 875.00/kit),” said Vice Mayor Bueno.

Santa Municipal Health Officer Dr. Marilou Cardenas said that the method used for the test is targeted sampling and secondary (barangay based sampling), which identifies the priority and the secondary testing targets.

“Priority testing targets are those: 1) suspected cases (formerly persons under investigation) either symptomatic or asymptomatic persons who have had close contacts with suspected cases; 2) symptomatic or asymptomatic frontliners, such as healthcare workers and persons who have current jobs, as well as jobs that are considered important to restart the economy; 3) asymptomatic, whether or not they had known contacts with confirmed COVID-19 patients; and 4) those who are high risk and asymptomatic such as senior citizens and those with comorbidities,” said Dr. Cardenas.

If there are enough test kits, the secondary testing: random sampling will test individuals who reside 500-meter radius (it can be modified per community) from the home address of a suspected case and healthcare workers.

As of Thursday, Santa Vice Mayor Bueno said that the team is currently finishing the tests of all barangay frontliners and it will be followed by the vulnerable residents, and those who will be returning to work.

“Although it has its limitations, like the possibility of yielding false positive or false negative results, the LGU-Santa believes that it is better to have some form of testing than no testing at all,” said Vice Mayor Bueno.

He added that the LGU asks its people to continue cooperating with the government as it continues with its obligation, which is to implement programs for the benefit of the people.