The number of new confirmed infections on the official list of positive Covid-19 cases could go higher with the inclusion of the rapid antigen test results, a health official said.
“Isasama natin ito sa ating (We’ll include these [results] on our) official list of positive cases but we’ll have segregations – these are the RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction), these are the rapid antigen test, so we know and can monitor the use of this rapid antigen test,” Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
She added, that the antigen test kits will be used to speed up the identification of people positive for Covid-19 and easily quarantine them to contain the transmission in the NCR-Plus regions - National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
“This will be used in communities where cases are high…so they can facilitate our contact tracing, our testing, our isolation, and quarantine strategies. Based on existing guidelines, an antigen test kit can be used as long as there’s an outbreak situation and that’s what we’re having right now,” she said.
However, Vergeire warned that the rapid antigen test cannot be used for other purposes, emphasizing that the DOH doesn't recommend it in screening for jobs and establishments, among others.
Concerned individuals are advised to use only the kits under World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing and that are registered by the country’s Food and Drug Administration and observe the regulatory standards to ensure the test’s accuracy.
“It’s going to be a confirmatory test in this outbreak situation in the NCR plus bubble, so if you were tested through antigen, you need not have a repeat test using RT-PCR especially if you’re symptomatic, the sensitivity of antigen is really high,” Vergeire said. "Also, those who don’t have symptoms but were deemed exposed or those called close contacts. One person can have more than a hundred contacts and rapid antigen test can be used to all of them.”
Meanwhile, besides the 50,000 RT-PCR daily testings nationwide, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has decided to add 30,000 antigen testing per day in NCR Plus, bringing the country-wide testing capacity to around 80,000 per day, testing czar Vivencio Dizon said.
Source: Philippine News Agency (PNA)