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Tabuk opens Covid-19 molecular lab; assures free charge, open for Kalinga towns

NOW OPEN. Department of Health assistant secretary Nestor Santiago, Jr. and mayor Darwin Estranero discuss some matters relative to the operation of the RT PCR molecular laboratory in Tabuk City that was inaugurated last Tuesday. The new facility will operate and will test swab samples free of charge nit just for Tabukenos but also for other towns in the province as well as in Cagayan. PIO Tabuk photo

Tabuk this week opened its own molecular laboratory for Covid-19 that will provide free testing for its citizens and for the entire Kalinga.

The laboratory, that is located in barangay Agbannawag beside the city’s new 100-bed capacity isolation facility, is the first facility in Northern Luzon that is funded and operated by the local government unit.

Department of Health assistant secretary Nestor Santigao, Jr. was amazed with the Tabuk molecular laborator which he called a very good example of leadership.

“We in the health sector are happy to see a local chief executive and a local government who makes health the priority, not because health is good politics but it is where you see the concern on the health of the people,” said Santiago during the blessing and inauguration of the facility last Tuesday.

With its operation, people of Tabuk will have a shorter waiting time in knowing the results since the swabs are taken either to Baguio or Isabela for testing.

“We are very lucky because Tabuk has its own RT-PCR laboratory and we know the importance of testing,” Santiago quipped.

“Even if we have vaccination, we still have to go on testing. We need to know immediately the result. If we know if it is positive, isolate immediately. If it is positive and symptomatic, then we have to hospitalize (the patient), so we need testing for proper intervention and management,” he added.

Santiago assured that DoH will be helping the city in its testing program. “We will be partnering with you. We will be providing the [testing] kits,” he promised.

Mayro Darwin Estranero assured Covid-19 testing will be free in Tabuk City which it has been doing in the past.

“Since we started with the antigen testing, we never charged any amount to any person who goes for testing,” he said.

And since the DoH will be providing free test kits, the city will not be charging.

“We will not be charging an amount because we will be subsidized by the DoH for our need for the reagent, among other things that are needed in the operation of this RT-PCR [laboratory],” he added.

Estranero said that the lab will not cater to swab specimens from Tabuk but also for other towns of Kalinga as well as nearby municipalities in Cagayan.

“The city government has undertaken a decisive step for funding, building, and operating an RT-PCR laboratory because this is the only defense that we have to forestall community transmission in our city,” Mayor Estrañero said.

Meanwhile, only 3.64 percent or 4,196 people of the 115,261 population have been inoculated in Tabuk, the Public Information Office – Tabuk reported.

People with comorbidities or A3 have the highest turn out since the roll out of vaccines in March with 87 percent of those registered already jab. PIO – Tabuk said that 1,904 of the 2,200 registered A3 have been vaccinated with either the Sinovac, Astra Zeneca or Pfizer brand.

Of the 1,623 A1 or health personnel, 1,146 have been jabbed or 71 percent and it is the same number as the A2 that have been vaccinated, PIO – Tabuk said.15 percent.

However, there are 7,746 senior citizens that are registered for jabbing or a turnout of only. Vaccination rate is a mere 36 percent in the city with its 11,569 people (A1, A2 and A3) registered for jabbing.

The city is also set to vaccinate 28,669 A5 residents, and it has no data of how many A4 will be jabbed.

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