Friday, 10 July 2020 13:02

Expanded testing capacity invaluable for handling LSIs, ROFs

Written by Stephen Capillas

Were it not for Cagayan de Oro City Hall’s efforts to beef up testing capacity for both Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) and the Department of Health regional office (DOH-10), it would have been a different situation for the city as far as dealing with Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) is concerned.

“If we didn’t build the testing capacity of both NMMC and the DOH-10, the LSIs and ROFs would fill up the city isolation units to capacity without us knowing for sure if they are positive or not,” City Mayor Oscar Moreno said in Thursday noon’s press briefing. “The same situation goes for both the municipal and provincial governments (outside the city).”

Both City Health Officer Dr. Lorraine Nery and City Health Office (CHO) resident epidemiologist Dr. Teodulfo Joselito Retuya said the Kagay-anon LSIs and ROFs undergo reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests on the fifth day of their quarantine when the symptoms of COVID-19 usually emerge.

“If they test negative there is already assurance for both the LSI/ROF and their families that they are safe to go home. If they test positive at least they remain quarantined until they test negative. The earlier we detect and test, the better for them and for us,” Mayor Moreno said.

Early detection and testing means faster turnover of isolation units for incoming LSIs, ROFs and residents testing positive for COVID-19. City Hall acquired and lent two RT-PCR machines each for both NMMC and DOH-10 as well as two automated extractor machines to double and speed up testing capacity.