Mass testing in House yields 98 COVID-19 cases
MANILA, Philippines – Nearly a hundred individuals in the House of Representatives have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) following a mass testing conducted in the lower chamber.
House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza said that out of the 2,000 lawmakers and employees who have so far participated in the mass testing efforts in the lower chamber since November 10, ninety-eight (98) have tested positive.
Mendoza said almost all COVID-19 positive cases were asymptomatic.
“All those who tested positive were directed to self-isolate to avoid passing the virus to others and immediate tracing of their close contacts was conducted,” Mendoza said in a statement.
The House Secretary General said the increase in COVID-19 cases was expected since the testing covered everyone in the lower chamber and not just those exhibiting symptoms.
“Because it was mass testing for all officials, employees and guests entering the Batasan Complex, we caught even the asymptomatic cases who could be transmitters if we didn’t find out they were COVID positive,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza added that the House is now coordinating with the Quezon City government to conduct a more extensive contract tracing.
He also said the testing laboratory commissioned by the House has reported the cases to the Department of Health, while the chamber’s in-house medical service made proper coordination with concerned Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams.
Mendoza noted that prior to November 10, the House already registered more than 80 COVID-19 cases since March. Almost all of them have recovered, except for two lawmakers and three employees who succumbed to the disease, he added.
Strict protocols in Batasan
Mendoza said strict health protocols are being implemented in the Batasan complex in response to the pandemic.
The Secretary General said lawmakers and House workers are required to undergo regular testing, especially when going inside the plenary hall.
Visitors are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before they can be granted access to the offices inside the complex and everyone entering the House needs to wear masks and face shields, pass through thermal scanners and disinfection machines, and observe physical distancing at all times.
Mendoza added that House members, employees and guests are also required to submit an accomplished health declaration form to inform the chamber of their health status before being allowed to enter its premises.
Other measures being implemented in the House include the cleaning and disinfection of all offices and buildings within the complex are done on a daily basis and the conduct of a hybrid session that combines physical presence with teleconferencing.
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