ZAMBOANGA CITY — Some 94 employees of the Department of Labor and Employment Region 9 had already undergone  rapid antibody test since June 19, 2020 when the agency ordered the mandatory testing of all its personnel for COVID-19.DOLE 9 Regional Director Atty. Roy L. Buenafe said that the testing is in close coordination with the Zamboanga City Health Office (CHO) that supplied the test kits.

“We are requiring all employees to undergo testing in order to safeguard their welfare in preparation for the resumption of their regular reporting schedule,” Director Buenafe said.

In his memorandum to DOLE 9 employees, Director Buenafe assured that testing is non-discriminatory and that results will be kept with utmost confidentiality. The Nursing Service Unit (NSU) under DOLE’s Safety, Health and Environment Committee (SHEC) is in the forefront of the testing as its staff is trained by the CHO.

He further said that the rapid testing is not a confirmatory test for COVID-19 as it is not a stand alone test.

“Only those who will test positive for the rapid antibody testing will be asked to subject themselves to home quarantine for 7 days. After that, they will undergo the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test which detects the presence of COVID-19 virus and measures viral load. This will be done by the CHO,” he added.

Employees with positive PCR results will be endorsed to the Department of Health 9 for appropriate care.

Since the imposition of General Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Zamboanga City on May 18, DOLE 9 has implemented workplace policies and measures to ensure that DOLE frontliners and clients are protected against COVID-19 infection. END/kcqg