Successful pooled testing in Carbon Market means extension of program to other sectors – Garganera
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The efficiency and effectiveness of the pooled testing based on its pilot implementation among Carbon Market vendors starting on September 30, 2020, may mean an extension of the program to other sectors.
Councilor Joel Garganera, head of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said that once they would complete the Carbon Market testing, they might proceed to transportation groups, supermarkets, malls, and other industries.
The pooled testing would be the next standard in the surveillance and continuous monitoring of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission around the city.
“We want the pooled testing to be done in places where most people would go,” said Garganera.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, chief pathologist of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7), said that the pooled testing would be offered to businesses and industries that would want a cheaper option than the individual swab testing.
The pooled testing would take five samples and test them as one, making the testing process cheaper for businesses.
Only if a batch of samples prove positive to the virus will the EOC conduct a follow-up swab testing to confirm which sample proved positive to the virus; thereby, reducing the cost of testing and of having all working employees quarantined and halting operations.
Dr. Brian Lim, an infectious disease expert, said that the pooled testing would help ensure the safety of larger spaces over a bigger group of people.
The data derived from the results of the tests, which also include individual antibody tests, can be used to detect which areas are most likely to have the presence of the virus.
This provides a data map for the city and the DOH-7 eventually providing them the capability to foresee risks and conduct interventions before the spread can happen.
So far, the Carbon Market testing yielded roughly 0.3 to 1.8 percent positivity rate among the number of vendors submitting themselves to the test from September 30 to October 1, 2020.
Garganera said this was welcome news because this would show that community transmission was not prevalent in the city’s largest public market.
He said that he was hoping that the program could continue with other public markets and other sectors so that more people would be tested and any budding spread of the virus could immediately be intervened upon.
The councilor also said that he hoped that this would reduce the number of active cases in the city which had been hovering between 300 to 400 per day over the last month./dbs
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