The local government of Coron will remain closed until it establishes its own Covid-19 testing facility in town, municipal tourism officer Kim Ablaña said in one of the webinar series for tourism stakeholders being conducted by the provincial tourism office on Thursday, September 10, 2020.
She said this was agreed upon by Calamian group of municipalities as part of mitigating measures in the spread of the virus in its neighboring towns and infecting more individuals especially that Coron has confirmed a local community transmission.
“Very firm po ang Calamian na bago po kami mag-reopening, mag-establish po muna kami ng testing facility,” Ablaña said.
Ablaña said the local government is in close coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) requesting for RT-PCR testing machine but she said it may take a while due to some procedures they have to follow in acquiring the machine and on putting up of a testing laboratory.
She added that LGU Coron are currently on talks also with the DOH and the supplier for the procurement of the antigen test to temporarily utilize for the testing and contact tracing while waiting for the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine that is expected to be delivered by the end of the year or by January 2021.
SB Rica Reyes-Gaw confirmed the statement saying that antigen test is part of the short-term plan of the LGU and it is expected to arrive this September.
“We are applying for the testing facility that DOH together with the LGU of Coron is now coordinating so that we could have the proper licences. The soonest time that we will be having this is by December or by January [next year], that is our long-term plan kaya the LGU right now has a short-term plan to have a testing facility which is not the good standard but [it]is 97% accurate as per the description, which is the Sophia antigen test. This Sohpia Antigen test is being used in Boracay also and in Baguio,” said Gaw.
In an article published by Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention says rapid antigen test are commonly used in the diagnosis of respiratory pathogens, including influenza viruses and respiratory syncytial virus which the FDA has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) which is capable of identifying SARS-CoV-2.
Moreover, Ablaña said the local government is trying its best to assure constituents and stakeholders of their safety and eliminate fears among the residents, and stabilize economy.
“Ito ay ginagawa namin para po ma-lessen po, ma-balance ‘yung takot po ng amin pong mga constituents and at the same time buhayin po ang aming ekonomiya dahil marami na rin po talaga ang nahihirapan,” she added.
Coron is now currently on a 14 days lockdown after it announced this week that the first Covid-19 local transmission who is an elderly woman died while waiting for the swab test result.