7 CDO telco employees found negative in confirmatory COVID-19 tests

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 23 June) – All seven employees of telecommunications companies here who earlier tested positive in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) rapid antibody tests last week were found to be negative in confirmatory tests.

Dr. Joselito Retuya, chief epidemiologist at the Cagayan de Oro City Health Office. Screen grab from the CDO Facebook page

Dr. Joselito Retuya, chief epidemiologist at the City Health Office, said swab tests were performed on the seven employees last weekend.

He said the results on the swab tests conducted using the Xpert Xpress process at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center found all the seven employees to be negative of COVID-19.

The discovery that seven telco employees tested positive without the knowledge of local health authorities created an outcry here last week.

Mayor Oscar Moreno immediately slammed the telco companies and the private diagnostic laboratories here.

Moreno said these companies were “irresponsible” when they left the employees to fend for themselves after taking the rapid tests.

“I just want them to realize the extent of what they had done, how the results of their rapid diagnostic test (RDT), even if not yet confirmatory, had caused anxiety on the employees, their families and their community,” the mayor said

Moreno turned his ire on two private diagnostic laboratories here and warned them he would revoke their license to operate here.

The management of one private laboratory had already apologized while the City Health Office is still awaiting word from the other.

Retuya stressed that rapid test is not a stand-alone test and should be accompanied by the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), which he said is more than 90 percent accurate.

Moreno has already issued an executive order making it mandatory for lab tests to inform the City Health Office before they conduct any rapid tests to walk-in and company clients. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)