Local health authorities conduct medical check ups to those who were tagged as “suspect” patients, or who were reactive to antigen test. (Photo courtesy of City IMT)

Patients who will test positive in the rapid antigen test will be classified as COVID-19 confirmed cases starting next week, the Puerto Princesa City Incident Management Team (IMT) said.

IMT commander Dr. Dean Palanca told Palawan News on Saturday, May 22, that the National Inter-Agency Task Force (NIATF) issued an order to include the positive result from antigen to the tracking of confirmed cases.

Palanca said that is also to save RT-PCR kits that can be used on other patients.

“Ang antigen positive ay considered as COVID-19 positive na rin kaagad kahit hindi na i-RT PCR. May utos na rin sa amin ang NIATF na kung ikaw ay antigen-positive ay you do not need to be tested in RT-PCR kasi sayang ang GeneXpert kits at ‘yong time na dapat i-test namin ang ibang individuals,” Palanca explained.

“Kung antigen-positive ay co-confirm natin ‘yan,” he said.

He added that they are expecting an increase to the confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the next days due to the inclusion of the antigen-positive result in the city’s regular tracking.

“By next week ay mag-a-adjust na kami ng scheduling namin na ma-lessen ang RT PCR test namin kasi magco-concentrate kami sa testing ng antigen which is ‘yon ang screening natin sa mga close contacts at asymptomatic individuals ng lungsod kaya makikita ninyo na mas tataas,” Palanca added.

Previously, close contacts and symptomatic patients are being tested twice through antigen to confirm the infection. However, due to the volume of patients who need to be tested, Palanca said they are not able to test twice.

“Isang test lang dito sa antigen. Naka-specific kasi dito sa antigen, dati kasi inuulit natin sa day five or day seven ang mga close contacts na hindi pa nag-positive. Ngayon kung sa unang testing ay nag-posotive ka na sa antigen ay hindi ka na kailangan ulitan ulit pagdating ng 48 or 72 hours. Right now sa dami ng symptomatic at close contacts ay wala na kaming time magdalawang testing sa kanila,” he stated.