Davao City shuns rapid diagnostic testing for COVID-19

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 June) — Mayor Sara Duterte confirmed Monday that the city government has already removed the rapid diagnostic testing (RDT) as part of the health screening procedures for individuals arriving in the city in line with the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Speaking over the Davao City Disaster Radio, Duterte noted that RDT “is not totally reliable in detecting COVID-19 cases.”

The investment on RDT is not worthy, she said, urging residents to help authorities intensify community surveillance to prevent the disease from further spreading in Davao City, the epicenter of COVID-19 in Mindanao.

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, June 7, the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Davao City stood at 312 with 185 recoveries and 26 deaths, according to data from the Department of Heath – Davao Region.

Duterte said the city government has directed the barangay officials to intensify the monitoring in their communities for individuals who maybe infected with COVID-19.

According to her, rapid test kits are still available at the district health offices, with the doctors there having the discretion to use it or recommend a patient to be tested using the PCR or the polymerase chain reaction testing.

In a previous interview, the mayor noted that rapid testing does not always yield accurate results, as there is a possibility that an individual may either have a false positive or false negative result.

She said that there had been instances when false negative results later turned out positive after a PCR test.

Last week, Duterte announced that the city government need to hire more frontline workers to boost its contact-tracing and community surveillance team.

The city government was expecting a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases with the return of locally stranded individuals and the returning overseas Filipinos as well as those who availed of the government’s Balik Probinsya (Back to the Province) program.

The city was placed under the less-restrictive general community quarantine status until June 15, allowing more people to go out and more work and business establishments to operate.