CDO to conduct RT-PCR tests on 2,500 residents

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 01 November) — As health officials continue to fight double-digit coronavirus infections daily here, the city government plans to conduct random RT-PCR tests on 2,500 residents.

Dr. Joselito Returya, epidemiologist at the City health Office (CHO) said respondents for the real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test can either volunteer or will be chosen at random.

“We may need more respondents if the survey results may be not conclusive,” Retuya said.

Residents wear face shields over their masks in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday, 17 August 2020 after the Land Transportation Franchise Regulatory Board implemented a “No Face Shield, No Ride ” policy in all public utility vehicles. Implemented last August 15, the directive strictly prohibits commuters without face shields and masks from riding public utility vehicles nationwide. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Retuya said the objective of the tests is to identify as many of the carriers of the COVID-19 virus and isolate them.

As of October 30, the CHO recorded a cumulative 1,618 COVID-19 cases since March,  557 of these considered “active.”

The CHO said 30 of the active cases are confined at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) while 527 cases, mostly asymptomatic, are being treated in the city’s isolation units.

Cagayan de Oro has been reeling from double-digit infections among residents, policemen and detainees since the start of October.

The CHO said 29 new cases were recorded last Friday, bringing the number of cases in the city to 1,618.

Retuya said the random testing would start as soon as the Department of Health and the NMMC would give their approval.

He said all of the test swabs will be processed at the laboratory facilities of DOH and NMMC.

“We would have to wait for  the DOH-10 and NMMC to clear their back logs,” Retuya said.

The NMMC and DOH-10 labs are the main facilities for RT-PCR testing in Northern Mindanao.

Last June, the CHO also conducted at random rapid antibody tests on residents of Barangay Carmen here.

Despite enticements of free rice and canned goods, many residents of Barangay Carmen shied away from the CHO’s rapid antibody tests. Only 257 residents availed of the tests out of the 500 residents randomly chosen by the CHO. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)