With the increased testing capacity in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) Bicol said that the new guidelines on expanded coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing broadens the coverage of persons to be tested.
Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH Bicol regional director, said that aside from individuals and health care workers with travel history and possible exposure to Covid-19, the expanded testing now covers frontliners indirectly involve in healthcare provision in response against the virus.
“Before, we only have subgroup A to D for the Covid-19 testing. Now, with the updated interim guidelines based on our Department Memorandum No. 2020-0285, it is expanded to subgroups E and F,” he said.
Vera said that subgroup E includes the personnel manning the temporary quarantine facility and control points, local risk reduction and management teams, barangay health emergency response teams, and personnel serving at Covid-19 swabbing center.
It also covers personnel of Bureau of Corrections, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the social workers performing Covid-19 related tasks such as providing amelioration and relief assistance to communities.
Meanwhile, Vera stated that the subgroup F comprises pregnant patients who shall be tested during the peripartum period as well as those immunocompromised and dialysis patients.
“With this new guidelines, we can test more individuals particularly here in the region. However, we would also like to emphasize that we will still prioritize those persons identified under subgroups A and B,” he explained.
Subgroup A comprises those symptomatic patients and healthcare workers with severe or critical symptoms and relevant history of travel or close contact to Covid-19.
Meanwhile, those patients or healthcare workers with mild symptoms, history of travel or close contact to patient positive with Covid-19, who are considered vulnerable belong to Subgroup B.
Moreover, subgroup C includes patients or healthcare workers with mild symptoms, travel history and close contact, while subgroup D covers asymptomatic patients or healthcare workers with travel history and close contact to Covid-19 patients. (PIA5/CEB/DOH Bicol)