COVID-19 tests on 2 OFWs in Bohol inconclusive

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COVID-19 tests on 2 OFWs in Bohol inconclusive

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NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.

The initial test results of two Boholano repatriates on quarantine are still subject for further re-testing even as they were later disputed by a subsequent test that found them negative, thus the results earlier posted by the Department of Health (Region VII) were not final and conclusive.

DOH-7 posted another update, indicating one case added but in the column labelled as “laboratory negative.”

DOH Regional Director Jaime S. Bernadas said the tests conducted on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) “could not be ascertained for now if these positive results are really active infections or due to the presence of viral remnants of a previous infection that they have already recovered from.”

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This clarification  came as tests done on repatriates have detected positive cases . However since there are documentation of recovered cases who would test positive for Covid-19 under RT-PCR, the results  could not be ascertained  if they are active infections.

Bernadas’ clarification was contained in his “Official Statement No. 36” dated May 2, 2020 where he reported an additional 124 Covid-19 cases in Central Visayas.

In a conversation last night, DOH-7  Director Bernadas informed Governor Art Yap that to date, Bohol can still be considered “Covid-free” since tests conducted on 10 returning OFWs registered negative IgM and IgG scores from a Rapid Antibody Test, even while one tested a positive IgG score.

A Rapid Test is an anti-body test that measures the response of the human body to a virus or any other micro-organism.  Even if it cannot identify the virus specifically, the Rapid Test can tell if a patient is undergoing an infectious attack through an IgM score, or if the patient has already recovered from an infectious viral or micro-biological attack, through an IgG score.

 “In this case, clearly ten of those tested registered neither an IgG or IgM score which means they are not undergoing any infection, nor have they recovered from any infectious attack. However, one those tested registered an IgG score which means the patient had previously been infected but has now since recovered,” Yap clarified.

Meanwhile, Dr. Yul Lopez, head of the medical team of the technical working group in Bohol, said the “confirmatory test” of the two OFWs  showed negative results when released late last night.

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Bohol was electrified last night with the news that two OFWs had tested positive through the PCR test.

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Yap received confirmation of this news from Dr.  Lopez of the Provincial Health Office.

However, the governor was cautioned not to make any conclusions as of yet because the DOH-7 regional office in Cebu wanted to make sure about the findings through another round of Rapid Tests.

 “It was explained to me by Director Jim Bernadas of DOH Region 7, that the PCR is considered the Covid Test Gold Standard because if taken during the course of an infection, the PCR test can specifically identify the virus attacking a patient’s body- -in this case, the Covid 19 virus itself.  But it is also possible that the PCR is registering the remnants of a past infection.  That seems to be the case here according to Director Bernadas,” Yap explained.

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Lopez, for his part, said that he personally interviewed the two asymptomatic OFWs who tested positive on the PCR, who said that they could not believe they were infected since they recounted that they arrived from the United States last March 22 in Manila and immediately, OWWA quarantined them at the Red Planet Hotel from March 22 to April 26, or until the day they boarded the 2GO vessel bound for Cebu.  They stressed that they stayed in the hotel all that time and remained from then up to today, asymptomatic.

in Bohol as one group, another PCR test by this week to continuously monitor the entire batch’s condition, as part of the previously set protocol.

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The first batch of 17 OFWs who underwent 14-day quarantine in Cebu City arrived Monday morning while the second batch of 48 arrived in the afternoon of the same day.

The first batch of OFW who arrived through Mactan International Airport is now billeted at the Mercedarian Retreat House in Dauis while the second batch who passed through Manila is having their 14-day quarantine at the CrabHouse in Mansasa, this city. However, health authorities transferred 25 of them to an inland resort in Panglao leaving the 23 others at CrabHouse.

NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.

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