DSWD Field Office 1 (FO 1) conducts expanded testing for COVID-19 Program to its staff using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or commonly known as swab test, one of the most accurate laboratory methods for detecting, tracking, and studying the coronavirus disease. This is in response with the directives of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) to expand testing strategy in the country and at the same time protect all employees and prevent any possible transmission of the virus in the workplace.

According to DSWD FO 1 Medical Officer III Mary Grace del Castillo, this initiative strengthens the mitigation measures of the Department on maximizing the Test, Trace, Isolate, and Treat strategy of the national government against COVID-19 and supplements the screening processes for COVID-19 infection and symptoms as well as contact tracing mechanisms against the virus that play critical roles in reducing the chance of resurgence of diseases in the Region. “The test is an effective way to ensure that DSWD staff are healthy, safe, and confident while rendering prompt public service to our constituents,” Dr. del Castillo added.

Regional Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo shared that the mandatory swab test is free through partnerships with the Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), La Union Provincial Health Office, and Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center. The Regional Director underscored that one of the top priorities of the Agency is to safeguard its employees from any kind of virus and/or disease and maintain a sense of health security in the workplace. Director Castillo reminded all employees to always follow the new safety protocols such as wearing face mask and shield, maintaining at least one-meter physical distance, regularly sanitizing, among others.

DSWD remains committed and steadfast to provide continuous prompt and quick public service during this health crisis.