The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. On January 30, 2020, the Department of Health reported the first case of COVID-19 in the country with a 38-year-old female Chinese national. On March 7th, the first local transmission of COVID-19 was confirmed. Months since then, the country’s COVID-19 cases are nearing 400,000.
As quarantine measures in most parts of the Philippines ease up and economic activities tentatively restart, we are seeing a spike of requests for proactive COVID-19 testing from travelers, returning OFWs, corporate offices, and more.
Sarita Shah, MD, an associate professor of global health, epidemiology and infectious diseases at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health who led a study on proactive testing in long-term care facilities said testing is the cornerstone of controlling the pandemic. Together with infection prevention and control measures, proactive testing helps find cases early especially asymptomatic ones, preventing further potential outbreaks in a vulnerable population.
Across the world, more than half of people found infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic. Even then, experts believe the spread of asymptomatic cases could be more significant than estimated, since people have different thresholds before reporting symptoms. Some asymptomatic cases may never be reported at all if left undetected.
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