Dr. Ballarta: 20 Confirmed COVID-19 LSIs To Undergo Repeat Swab

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The municipality of Lambunao in Iloilo province is coordinating the repeat swab test of 20 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who were earlier found positive of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The 20 were allowed to go home before the release of their reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results because they were asymptomatic and have completed their 14-day quarantine in facilities managed by the local government unit (LGU).

“Upon completion of their quarantine period, individually they were asked if they would like to go home since the facility was still open if they were willing to stay,” Dr. Mercedes P. Ballarta said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Those who opted to go home were made to sign a waiver “that they voluntarily request(ed) to go home,” Ballarta said, noting that they went home on the condition that they would continue their quarantine while waiting for the result. That was stated in their waiver, she said.

The LSIs were among the 36 returnees who arrived on June 26 and the 31 returnees who arrived on June 27.

The swab test results that were released by the Department of Health – Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) 6 (Western Visayas) on July 12 and 13, showed that of the 47 out of the 67 LSIs – 20 from Lambunao – came out positive for Covid-19.

“For the peace of mind of everybody, we conducted a rapid test yesterday, although it is not official because it is not being acknowledged,” Ballarta said, adding that the rapid diagnostic test only served as a guide so they would know who among them have antibodies. The results were all negative.

On Tuesday morning, she requested that Lambunao Mayor Reynor R. Gonzales allow the swab tests for 23 individuals, including the contact of one LSI who turned positive, an Authorized Person Outside of Residence (APOR), and one LSI who was exposed to two Covid-19 positives while waiting for his RT-PCR result.

“I’ll have them undergo a repeat swab, although, in the guidelines of the DOH, they are already negative,” Ballarta added.

The LSI positives were pulled out from their barangays to shield them from derogatory comments from people in their respective villages.

They are currently staying at the Don Eugenio Ladrido Memorial Elementary School (DELMES), one of the town’s quarantine facilities.

In a virtual presser on Monday, DOH spokesperson, Dr. Jocelyn Te, said LSIs could already go home once the 14-day quarantine period is completed provided they are asymptomatic.

The July 10 advisory released by the DOH-CHD-6 said LSIs, APOR, and returning overseas Filipino workers (ROFs) can be released from quarantine after 14 days so long as they remain asymptomatic for the entire duration of the quarantine period, even without testing or the test results.

“There is no need to repeat RT-PCR testing for those with initial positive test results prior to discharge and tagging as recovered. However, an appropriate assessment of a physician shall be done for all patients prior to discharge from quarantine,” the advisory said. (PNA)

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