MANILA — A total of 98 individuals at the House of Representatives have tested positive for COVID-19 after the chamber conducted its first-ever “mass testing,” Secretary-General Mark Mendoza said on Tuesday.
Mendoza, in a statement, said the figure comprise “nearly 5 percent” of the 2,000 lawmakers and employees working in the lower chamber who underwent RT-PCR testing since Nov. 10.
All of those who turned out positive for the disease were asymptomatic, he added. This has been reported already to the Department of Health.
“It’s the first time a mass testing was conducted in the House since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March… All those who tested positive were directed to self-isolate to avoid passing the virus to others and immediate tracing of their close contacts was conducted,” he said.
Because of this, he said, House lawmakers and employees will undergo regular testing “especially when going inside the plenary hall.”
The House is also currently coordinating with the Quezon City local government to have a “more extensive” contact tracing among its employees.
Its chamber’s medical service, meanwhile, has already coordinated with concerned barangay health emergency response teams for contact tracing, among others.
"The increase in COVID-19 cases was expected since the testing covered everyone in the House, not just those with symptoms," the statement said.
Before the tests that yielded Tuesday’s figure, the lower chamber registered at least 90 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.
The most recent positive cases reported involved a 77-year-old lawmaker, along with 2 other staff on Nov. 4.
“Almost all of them (who had COVID-19) have recovered, except for 2 lawmakers and 3 employees who succumbed to the disease,” it added.
— With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News