The local government of Catarman in Northern Samar has acquired 800 sets of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kits to boost its fight against coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
In a statement on Monday, Mayor Jun Rosales said the supplies arrived from Manila on July 10, including 1,285 collection kits and 800 each of detection and extraction kits.
“Having our own supply of test kits will allow us to examine more suspected carriers of Covid-19, especially the locally stranded individuals who will be returning home. If we don’t have them, we only rely on the limited allocation from the Department of Health (DOH), and not all suspected carriers get swabbed for testing. This causes delay on the verification of the real status or condition of the suspects,” he said.
The local government prioritizes testing of suspected carriers with mild or severe symptoms, those who traveled to high-risk areas, close contacts of positive patients, and health workers.
“The DOH has trained our municipal health office personnel on swab specimen collection. Our collected samples are sent to the Eastern Visayas Covid-19 Testing Center in Tacloban City,” Rosales said.
He urged all returning residents to properly coordinate with the local government and secure all the required documents, including their travel authority and the barangay (village) and health or medical certificates.
To date, the town has no active Covid-19 case as its first case recorded in March has now recovered.
The patient was also the region’s first confirmed case, a 51-year-old woman who arrived in Catarman from Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, Eastern Visayas has confirmed a total 646 cases, of which 579 have recovered while three from Leyte, Biliran, and Samar died of Covid-19 complications.
Most of the confirmed cases in the region are returning residents, including LSIs and overseas Filipino workers, the DOH said. (PNA)