Bohol has so far conducted 198 polymerase chain reaction or PCR – based tests on individuals suspected of coronavirus disease (COVID) -19 infection in the province since the disease’s threat emerged in the country in January.
Doctor Yul Lopez, the Capitol’s spokesperson on COVID-19 related issues, admitted that the figure is “very low.”
Lopez attributed the minimal number of tests to the former protocols of the Department of Health (DOH) and previous lack of test kits which prompted the province to test only those who showed symptoms of the disease, particularly SARI (severe acute respiratory illness) patients.
Prior to that, the DOH only allowed the testing of people who had recent travel to China and other COVID-stricken countries and were showing symptoms of the disease, but with the recent increase in the availability of test kits, the government has been more liberal in conducting tests.
According to Lopez, more tests are expected to be done in the forthcoming weeks.
He said that at least 700 test kits have been distributed to Regional Health Units (RHU) in various towns of the province.
The health official also noted that the province has a “positivity rate” of 0.5 percent after only one person of the 198 tested was found to have been infected with COVID-19, a 60-year-old Chinese woman who traveled to Bohol in late January.
“Ang positivity rate, sa ato pa, sa imong gitest na taw, pila may nag-positive,” Lopez said. “Meaning kung ni-test ka og 100 ka taw, unya dunay usa ka positive, that’s one percent positivity rate.”
However, the two returning OFWs in Bohol who recently tested positive in PCR tests based on data from the DOH last week were not accounted in Lopez’ calculation after the Capitol refuted the findings and is still awaiting the results of confirmatory tests done on both Boholanos and 63 others who arrived with them in the province last week.
According to Lopez, the Philippines has a positivity rate of 7.6 percent as 9,223 of the 120,736 persons tested for COVID-19 were positive for the disease.
He ascribed the province’s low positivity rate to the provincial government’s quick response against the COVID-19 threat.
Bohol was the first province to close its borders through an inbound travel ban as part of measures to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease.
“Sa Bohol, I would say that we are blessed and I would say ug kanunay g’yud ko magpasalamat sa atong mga igsuong Bol-anon sa pagsanong sa atong mga pahimagno, mga executive orders. We were the first to declare the community quarantine and to wear a mask bisag asa ta moadto,” he said.