GenSan LGU to cover more essential workers in free antigen testing

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 28 June) – The city government is targeting to cover more essential workers in the coming days in its ongoing free antigen testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among business establishments here.

Restricting movement in General Santos City after a spike in COVID-19 cases. MindaNews file photo by ROMMEL G. REBOLLIDO

Leonard Flores, head of the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office (CEMCDO), said Monday the enlistment of workers for the voluntary testing are underway in coordination with the business sector.

He said they have already covered 121 workers from food and tourism-related establishments in the two batches of testing since the program started last June 18 in coordination with the City Health Office (CHO).

The local government recorded two asymptomatic cases in the first batch of 80 workers who underwent antigen testing.

Flores said the targeted COVID-19 testing is in line with Executive Order No. 48 issued last year by City Mayor Ronnel Rivera that provided for the establishment of coordinated operations to defeat the epidemic in the workplaces in the city.

He said CHO had opened a community-based antigen swab station, the city’s fourth, at the KCC Veranza Mall’s alfresco patio.

“Our objective is not only to reduce the number of cases but so we can look forward to a better December compared to 2020,” Flores said in a virtual program orientation.

He said it is important for the city to test workers in the business sector as they account for 40 to 45 percent of the confirmed cases in the city.

Dr. Rochelle Oco, acting CHO chief, said their records showed that the bulk of the COVID-19 cases in the city belong to the 20- 29 and 30-39 age brackets, with 1,341 and 1,184, respectively.

“Meaning these are the essential workers. Those reporting for work on a daily basis to our offices and business establishments,” she said.

Most of them were found asymptomatic and had infected other co-workers and family members, Oco noted.

The city government recorded on Sunday 62 new COVID-19 cases and 49 recoveries, bringing its active infections to 708, the highest among the 49 cities and municipalities in Region 12 (Soccsksargen).

The confirmed cases in the area since March last year have reached a total of 5,513, with 170 related deaths and 4,635 recoveries.

Starting this week, Oco said they are targeting to cover at least 80 workers per day in the two batches of the free antigen testing station at the KCC Mall scheduled every Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

She said the results will be available in 15 to 30 minutes and those who would come out positive will be quarantined immediately and undergo confirmatory reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing. (MindaNews)