The province of Bohol is planning to collect 1,400 swab samples per week or 200 per day for coronavirus disease (COVID) 2019 testing as part of efforts to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 which causes the respiratory illness, a local health official said.
According to assistant provincial health officer Dr. Yul Lopez, who is also the Capitol’s spokesperson on COVID-19-related issues, the provincial government aims to test 28,000 residents of the province which has a population of 1.4 million people.
“Out of the 1.4 million Boholanos, we should be able to test 28,000 for it to be significant,” he said.
The swab samples for real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing will be submitted to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City as the province still has no COVID-19 testing center.
Lopez who was speaking in a virtual presser on Monday however did not specify the timeline for the initiative.
He only confirmed that so far 700 COVID-19 test kits have been distributed to Rural Health Units across the province for use among severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and influenza-like illness (ILI) patients.
According to Lopez, 198 persons in the province have been tested for COVID-19 since the threat of the disease emerged in the Philippines in January.
The figure did not include yet the 65 overseas Filipino workers currently quarantined after arriving in the province last week and those who were in contact with them. Swab samples were collected from them starting Tuesday.
Last week, the Department of Health reported that there have been three COVID-19 cases in the province including an old case involving a Chinese woman who tested positive in January and two of the 65 returning OFWs.
The results on the OFWs’ test however were refuted by the provincial government prompting health authorities to set another PCR testing for the balikbayans which would determine if the province is indeed still free from active COVID-19 cases.