Dagupan City’s Mayor Brian Lim purchased 1,000 units of COVID-19 rapid test kits amounting to one million pesos, equivalent to around eight months’ worth of his salary.
The news was announced in a statement on Dagupan City’s Public Information Office Facebook page on April 8, 2020.
Rapid test kits cost approximately 1,000 pesos each. According to the Department of Health (DOH), rapid test kits or Rapid Antibody-based Test Kits (RATKs) are used to detect antibodies that fight COVID-19. It can produce test results in as little as 15 minutes.
While RATKs may not be able to confirm the presence of the COVID-19 virus, it can still be used as an “adjunct tool” once “a person under investigation (PUI) has completed his or her 14-day quarantine, asymptomatic, and discharged from a health facility.” The purchase of the RATKs will help the local government of Dagupan City to make “strategic decisions” and take precautionary measures while waiting for results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) or other accredited COVID-19 testing facilities.
“The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, which detects the actual presence of the virus, is still the ‘gold standard’ in testing for COVID-19,” the statement added. PCR test kits take between 24 to 48 hours to produce results.
As of April 8, 2020, Dagupan City confirmed a total of six cases of COVID-19, with 49 persons under investigation and one recorded fatality.