BMA collects saliva samples from risk group of factory workers for COVID-19 testing

Pol.Lt.Gen. Sopon Pisuttiwong, Deputy Governor of Bangkok, had a site visit to inspect the screening of COVID-19 infection among the risk groups at Big Star Factory located at Rama II Road Soi 100, Bang Khun Thian District, to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The first confirmed COVID-19 case of Big Star Company Limited was detected on December 21, 2020. Then, on December 22, 2020, officers from Bang Khun Thian District Office and Health Department of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) had come to clean and disinfect the Big Star Factory. After that, on December 23, 2020, the BMA sent officers to conduct nasal swab test for high risk group of 200 people. The test result found 3 additional confirmed cases comprising 2 Myanmar workers and 1 Thai worker. Big Star Factory has a total of 800 high risk persons.

Today, officers from the BMA’s Health Department have performed COVID-19 screening test on risk group of 199 people, both Thai and foreign workers, by collecting saliva samples and sending to Ramathibodi Hospital’s lab for the diagnosis of COVID-19. The screening process started with asking questions on recent history of symptoms. Then, everyone was provided with a container with 0.9% normal saline. They need to hold saliva in their mouth for 5 minutes and spit the saliva, at least 2 cc., into the container.

The COVID-19 saliva tests are cheaper and faster than nose swabs. The credibility of the saliva test result is 90% while the nasal swab test is 95%. At any rate, if the saliva test detects COVID-19 infection, the nasal swab test will be conducted again to reconfirm the result.

The Deputy Governor revealed that the Royal Thai Government and the BMA had the same policy to perform COVID-19 screening for both legal and illegal alien workers who are the risk group. Medical officers would perform screening test on all of the alien workers; therefore, they not have to worry. If anyone is found infected with COVID-19, they will receive the same medical treatment as Thai citizens so that Thailand can effectively curb the spread of COVID-19.