Repatriated OFWs in Cebu to undergo antibody testing

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram May 03,2020 - 12:41 PM

AP photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH – 7) announced that the repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who arrived from Manila on April 28 will be made to undergo antibody test.

In a statement released to members of the media on May 2, Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH- 7 director, said there is a need to determine if the infection found in 17 of the 220 repatriated workers are active ones or in a recovery stage.

”Antibody testing will be done to see if they have had previous exposure to the virus,” said Bernadas.

The agency’s decision stemmed from findings that samples of patients recovering from COVID-19 still tested positive when examined under real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) laboratory techniques.

“We could not ascertain for now if these positive results are really active infections or due to the presence of viral remnants of a previous infection that they have already recovered from,” Bernadas added.

During antibody tests, results will help experts determine if antibodies found in a patient appear during infection (IgM) or upon recovery (IgG).

220 repatriated Cebuano OFWs arrived in the province last April 28 on board a mercy voyage organized by several national government agencies.

All of them were subjected to rapid COVID-19 tests and swab tests before and upon arrival in Cebu in compliance with the local governments’ health protocols.

They were immediately transported to their respective hotels in Cebu City where they will remain under quarantine for 14 days.

Swab test results that were released between April 30 to May 2 show that 17 of them are infected with COVID-19.

Before the OFWs will be cleared to return to their families, DOH – 7 said, their repeat tests should yield negative results which means that their system has been cleared of the virus. / dcb

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