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Get tested for COVID, Gordon urges public

Senator Richard J. Gordon
Richard J. Gordon

SENATOR Richard J. Gordon, chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross, along with government officials and health experts reminded the public to exercise “extraordinary diligence” in getting tested for COVID-19.

Gordon stressed the importance of the importance of continuously testing, tracing, and treating the virus even amid the vaccination rollout after medical experts said that eight out of ten COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic and cannot be detected based on temperature checks alone.

“Dapat talaga atupagin ng gobyerno ‘yan at atupagin ng tao na sila ay ma-test. Sapagkat kung hindi sila matetest, manghahawa sila kung sila ay may sakit. At kung sila ay mai-test, maililipat sila sa magandang lugar na magagamot sila, pipiliting pagalingin sila, at marami namang gumagaling,” he said.

Dr. Michael Tee from the University of the Philippines Manila warned that eight out of ten cases are asymptomatic, which means they cannot be detected and isolated based on temperature checks alone. Tee also added that he and his research team found out that some overseas Filipino workers who were supposedly screened and cleared abroad before flying to the Philippines also tested positive upon arrival.

The need for testing was also reiterated by COVID-19 Testing Czar Vince Dizon, who cited the increasing local cases of COVID-19 variants first detected in South Africa and the United Kingdom and the detection of two “mutations of concern” in cases in Central Visayas.

“Kailangan po lalo pa nating pa-iigtingin ang ating testing, and kailangan naman po ay talagang pabilisin natin ang pagpapalaganap nitong mga RT-PCR Saliva Test,” Dizon said, adding that PRC’s Saliva RT-PCR Test is the only saliva test stringently reviewed and approved by regulators.

Since its launch last month, the PRC has processed almost 24,000 saliva samples using RT-PCR machines in their molecular laboratories nationwide. Gordon has also inked partnerships with the private sector to offer the cheaper, non-invasive, but accurate Saliva Tests in drive-thru collection booths in malls, and through home service.

On the other hand, the PRC leads COVID-19 testing in the country, having exceeded two million swab tests nationwide. This milestone accounts for 24% of the country’s testing output, and for about 37% of testing in NCR.