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Intensified mass testing in Pangasinan posts 3% positivity rate

January 14, 2021

The Provincial Government of Pangasinan has intensified its expanded targeted mass testing to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the province yielding only 3% positivity rate since it started last May 2020 up to present.

In an interview with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Anna Ma. Teresa De Guzman, she bared that out of the 96,443 tested samples as of January 12 for COVID-19 in Pangasinan, 3,270 came out positive.

The results include test samples from the first round conducted from May to September 2020 (2,403 tests) and second round for the time period of September to December 2020 (14,702) of mass testing conducted by the Provincial Government of Pangasinan, as well as drop offs (2111), Philippine Red Cross, Parkway and other molecular laboratories (10,000), Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (53,401) and private hospitals (13,826).

The provincial health officer also assured that the tests utilized the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test which is the gold-standard in mass testing.

“Bago pa man mag-umpisa ang laban natin sa COVID-19, ang ating Governor, Gov. Amado I. Espino III, ay initalaga na ang RT-PCR, which is the gold standard ng ating Department of Health, ay ang gagamitin sa ating probinsya,” said Dr. De Guzman.

The Pangasinan Molecular Laboratory which was established to address the accessibility of Pangasinenses to mass testing received its License to Operate recently.

Dr. De Guzman also stated that mild persons under investigation (PUI) cases, frontline workers, and returning residents are prioritized during the mass testing.

The Provincial Health Office has also developed a contact tracing tool, a checklist of the conditions of individuals exposed to COVID-19, to guide the contact tracers. This contact tracing tool is used by all local government units in Pangasinan and fourteen government-run hospitals.

The relatively low positivity rate of the confirmed cases in the province is also traced to the FIT3-RP approach.

FIT3-RP which stands for Find, Isolate, Test, Trace, Treat, Reintegration and Prevention is a comprehensive approach containing strategies followed by the Provincial Government of Pangasinan which aided in controlling the spread of the virus.

The Provincial Government of Pangasinan’s FIT3-RP approach includes: Find (Implementation of strict border control operations and ensured functional services of hospital), Isolate (registration of returning residents to barangay and mandatory quarantine, consultative meetings with stakeholders and health workers, conversion of some Provincial Government Facilities to COVID Isolation Facilities), Test (conduct of mass testing and establishment of testing centers), Trace (strengthened COVID-19 tracing teams including the contact tracers and the development of Close contact Assessment Management Tool), Treat (continuous improvement of the 14 government hospitals), Reintegration (the recovery plan of the Provincial Government of Pangasinan called Abig Pangasinan containing multi-faceted services for Pangasinenses), and Prevention (intensified campaign for strict minimum health protocols across the province).

Dr. De Guzman stated that the aforementioned measures of the Provincial Government of Pangasinan is effectively helping in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the province.

“Ang Probinsya ng Pangasinan ay number 13 among the list ng malalaking probinsya in terms of COVID-19 confirmed cases,” said Dr. De Guzman mentioning that Pangasinenses should not be complacent and continue to follow the minimum health standards to further stop the spread of COVID-19 in the province.

/Paula Jhea Sison