June 6, 2023

The city government will boost its triage and testing schemes as new Covid-19 cases emerged this week.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said circumstances on the two new cases – the returning Baguio worker and the incarcerated resident – underscored the need to tighten the X-ray requirement in the city’s central triage and the necessity to expand random testing.

The returning worker was found positive of the virus after her X-ray result showed suspicious pneumonia necessitating a mandatory reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test which turned out positive. As a result of the triage findings, the said patient was immediately isolated preventing disease transmission at once.

The mayor said chest X-rays will now become a requirement not only for returning workers but also for all come backing residents as a precaution against the disease.

“We will now require X-rays among all our returning Baguio residents (RBR)  to ensure that no one with potential infection gets through the triage. We will deploy X-ray machines that will be good for a 24-hour operation for a minimal fee of P180 for the cost of the film,” the mayor said.

“I hope people would understand that this is the way to go if we want to safeguard our city because we really do not know how many of our RBRs and workers are potentially infected,” he added.

He said triage records on construction workers alone showed that out of the 1,048 workers who came up from May 7 to 27, 11.9 percent were found to have pneumonia, tuberculosis and heart problems, all of which are comorbidities of the Covid-19

Apart from the RBRs and workers, the city also contends with returning Overseas Filipino Workers now totaling 900. The mayor said they are expecting around 9,000 in the coming days and the number is protracted to reach 20,000 in the coming weeks.  

The mayor said the case of the patient who was found positive while in jail highlighted the fact the prevalence of the infection remains unknown.

The patient who was committed to the city jail only last May 28 was among those included in the random RT-PCR tests conducted at the facility.

He said the situation will remain unknown until such time that an extensive RT-PCR testing is done.

At present, the city is only able to conduct 10 percent random sampling for RT-PCR tests among the at risk population due to limited supply of kits. – Aileen P. Refuerzo