The Jakarta Post
The West Java administration began COVID-19 rapid tests on Wednesday, prioritizing at least 300 medical and non-medical staff of Hasan Sadikin Hospital (RSHS) in Bandung who have had close contact with coronavirus-positive patients.
"Hopefully, the rapid tests will detect more cases and/or people with a high risk of getting the disease so we will be able to take precautionary measures in advance," West Java Health Agency head Berli Hamdani said.
The tests for RSHS staff members marked the first phase of rapid testing in the province.
RSHS Medical and Nursing Department director Nucki Nursjamsi Hidayat said the staff members tested ranged from doctors and nurses to drivers and security personnel.
The first group prioritized are doctors, including internists, anesthesiologists, clinical pathologists and pediatricians as well as students of medical specialist programs. The second priority is given to nurses stationed at special inpatient rooms, isolation emergency rooms and isolation outpatient rooms.
Nucki also listed non-medical staff who would be prioritized in the rapid testing, namely drivers who helped transport COVID-19 patients, security guards who have had close contacts with patients, forensic staff who bathed dead bodies of infected patients as well as administration staff and cleaning service staff in the ring 1 area, the closest epicenter to the isolation rooms.
"If we have enough test kits, we will also conduct the tests on staff in ring 2 areas, as they may face the same risks," he added.
The West Java administration plans to conduct COVID-19 rapid tests for people in three categories, identified as categories A, B and C.
Category A includes people at the highest risk of COVID-19 transmission, such as people who recently returned from overseas, patients under monitoring and their families, neighbors and friends as well as medical staff handling COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
Category B includes people at high risk of COVID-19 transmission based on their professions and daily social interactions, while Category C covers people showing symptoms similar to COVID-19 who have referral letters from a health facility.
The provision of drive-thru rapid tests for categories B and C will be discussed with regencies and city administrations as the medical equipment and medical staff need to be prepared in advance.
At least three officials in West Java have been infected with the novel coronavirus to date, namely Bogor Mayor Bima Arya, Bandung Deputy Mayor Yana Mulyana and Karawang Regent Cellica Nurachadiana.
As of Wednesday, West Java had recorded 73 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10 fatalities, according to the central government's data. (trn)