CONFIRMATORY TEST PENDING: PCG member, shipping line crew initially test positive for COVID-19

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

A personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and a crew member of Cokaliong Shipping Lines initially tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas confirmed the information in a press conference on April 16, 2020 that the two yielded positive results via COVID-19 rapid testing.

But Treñas said the duo underwent confirmatory testing through Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) at the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) and are awaiting results.

“Nag-positive sila sa rapid [test], gin-isolate sila, naga-hulat kita sang results nila sa [RT-PCR],” he said.

WVMC is the first sub-national laboratory accredited by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in conducting COVID-19 testing in Western Visayas.

The two were part of the 94 people who the mayor said had been compromised by the city’s latest confirmed COVID-19 case, a 40-year-old male overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from La Paz district.

The 94 people includes 14 PCG personnel, 32 City Health Office staff, six personnel from the city’s Public Safety and Transportation Management Office, and 42 crew members of Cokaliong.

The OFW, who returned from the United Kingdom, was part of the 29 passengers who were transported via sea vessel from Cebu to Iloilo City on April 11.

He and two other OFWs had tested positive in the antibodies test, meaning they were already infected by the virus.

The mayor on Wednesday said that two other OFWs were negative after the confirmatory RT-PCR tests.

The mayor had previously chided the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration for sending three undocumented OFWs back to the city.