48 LSIs who tested positive in rapid tests still awaiting swab test results
MANILA, Philippines — The 48 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who had stayed at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila and later tested positive in COVID-19 rapid tests are still awaiting the results of their swab tests, an official said Monday.
“Hatid Tulong” program lead convenor and Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo said this on Monday, a week after he announced the positive rapid test results on the first eight LSIs.
He said health personnel from the Department of Health and the Philippine Coast Guard are continuously monitoring the health status of the stranded individuals who are still confined in a quarantine facility.
“On the 48 positive rapid tests LSIs, currently they are still in quarantine facility, awaiting the results of their swab tests. Because as per guidance of the DOH, since they were tested positive on rapid tests, they should be subjected to a confirmatory test which is the swab test,” he said during the meeting of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability on Monday.
Encabo said the LSIs went through swab tests “almost a week” ago.
Asked by committee chair Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado about the delay of the test results, Encabo said: “We are currently asking for response from Red Cross and on this day we will try to seek their comments on that, on why there is such a delay on the results.”
“We would like to reiterate our intent to them to give priority sa mga LSIs na ito dahil kawawa din, the longer they stay in the quarantine facility, the more it becomes traumatic on their part. Psychologically disturbed sila kapag ganoon,” Encabo also said, adding that he will discuss the matter with the Department of Health.
(We would like to reiterate our intent to them to give priority to these LSIs because the longer they stay in the quarantine facility, the more it becomes traumatic on their part. They are psychologically disturbed in this situation.)
But according to Dr. Corazon Flores, regional director of the Department of Health in Metro Manila, some of the 48 LSIs went through swab tests in later dates.
“‘Yung mga nag positive sa rapid test, kinuhanan ng swab, hindi naman po sila sabay-sabay ‘yung 48 na kinolekta in one time. ‘Yung iba ay hindi naman po one week na, kumbaga less than mga four days ago pa po,” she said in the meeting.
(Not all of the 48 LSIs who tested positive in rapid tests went through swab tests simultaneously. Some of them have gone through swab tests less than one week ago, or less than four days ago.)
Flores said the DOH is also following up with the Red Cross on the test results.
According to Encabo, the DOH will assess the health status of the LSIs once they receive the results of their swab tests, and that the “Hatid Tulong” program management will abide by the decision of the health department on measures to be imposed for the LSIs who will be confirmed to have the disease.
The 48 LSIs are among the over 6,700 stranded passengers awaiting government-sponsored trips to their home provinces through the “Hatid Tulong” program who had stayed in the sports complex since July 25.
The setup at the venue earlier drew public criticism over apparent lack of physical distancing, which is one of the minimum health protocols being imposed by the government to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Encabo earlier said that as of July 30, there are no more LSIs in the Rizal stadium as they were already ferried to their respective home provinces.
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