DOH urges businesses to conduct random rapid tests for workers
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health on Thursday urged businesses to randomly test employees for the novel coronavirus through rapid tests every two weeks.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH does not recommend the use of rapid antibody tests for “mass screening” of workers, as various business establishments reopen amid relaxed community quarantine setup in the country.
“Pwede po siyang gamitin na parang zero prevalence study within the company na pinaggagawaan nito at maaari po itong gawin every two weeks,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
(It can be used like a zero prevalence study within the company. The testing can be conducted every two weeks.)
“Pero hindi niyo po itetest lahat. Parang it’s a random sampling para lang makikita niyo, mamomonitor niyo ‘yung trend kung nagkakaroon talaga ng kaso within your company,” she added.
(But you don’t have to test everyone. It’s just similar to a random sampling just so you can see if cases of infection are occurring within your company.)
However, she said the DOH does not encourage “indiscriminate” testing through reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, which health experts say is more reliable than rapid tests that can only detect antibodies.
“Everybody has to understand that testing is a point-in-time event, meaning if you get tested for today, tomorrow if you go out before work you will get exposed and maybe you will get the disease again. Will you have the specific person be tested again tomorrow? That would always be the question,” said Vergeire.
Senator Joel Villanueva also earlier urged the Department of Labor and Employment to issue an order mandating businesses to conduct random and regular testing on its workers.
The country has so far logged a total of 58,850 confirmed cases of the disease, with additional 1,392 fresh and late cases reported on Wednesday. A total of 20,976 patients have recovered while 1,614 have died.
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