MANILA, Nov 18 (Mabuhay) — Not a single evacuee has tested positive for COVID-19 so far, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire made the announcement given that the government has made available antigen COVID-19 test for evacuees with COVID-19 symptoms, among other medical and mental health assistance due to their displacement due to series of typhoons amid a pandemic.

Those showing symptoms for possible COVID-19 infection will be given priority.

“Wala pa po sa ating mga evacuees ang nagpositibo sa COVID-19. Makakaasa po kayo na patuloy naming imo-monitor ang ating evacuees at sisiguraduhin natin na ooberserbahan nila ang minimum health standards habang sila [ay] displaced,” Vergeire said in an online forum.

“Priority po natin [sa testing] iyong may sintomas. Kung may nararamdaman po ang ating mga kababayan sa evacuation centers, puwede po kayo pumunta sa mga health and safety officers sa evacuation centers para kayo ay mabigyan ng lunas,” she added.

Aside from testing, Vergeire said the DOH already deployed Health Emergency Response Teams in typhoon affected areas for COVID-19 surveillance, as well as medical, sanitation and mental/psychosocial support for evacuees.

“We have also provided supplementary ready to eat food as well as medicines such as ferrous sulfate and calcium carbonate,”  Vergeire added.

Vergeire said that based on Department of Social Welfare and Development records, the number of evacuees as of November 18 is at 55,921 families or 223,378 individuals staying in 1,570 evacuation centers in Regions 2, 3, 4A, 5 and National Capital Region (NCR).

Typhoon Ulysses has left 73 people dead as of November 18 and affected over three million individuals from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B 5, NCR and Cordillera Administrative Region.

Earlier, the OCTA Research Team called on authorities to provide COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and isolation facilities to families who fled to evacuation centers due to the recent typhoons.

On Tuesday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said evacuees will be screened for COVID-19 through antigen test to prevent the spread of the virus in typhoon-hit communities.

However, Roque also noted that there is no assurance that all will be tested.  (MNS)

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