June 24, 2024

The city fared well in Covid-19 response programs, Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during the launching program of Bakuna sa Botika and drive-through vaccination last Jan. 26.
Duque was in Baguio for the Bakuna sa Botika at Watson’s Pharmacy, SM basement which will last up to Feb. 1; and the drive-through at the Athletic Bowl, Burnham Park where he administered several jabs to motorists.
He lauded Mayor Benjamin Magalong’s acumen through the nearly two-year war waged against the Covid virus and emerging variants. 
Though with limited resources, quality was not sacrificed and the best value is given to the community through his leadership, Duque said. 
Among these is “the accordion policy,” or the immediate conversion of hospital ICU units to more Covid booths when needed during the Delta variant surge. Baguio hospitals and health care workers adjusted as to the demands of the circumstances, Duque added.
Early detection and targeted response through granular, localized or even a single residential lockdown, is also an exemplary practice. “Advances in economy is at stake, (if we were to have widespread lockdowns) at ayaw natin na bumagsak tayo,” he said. Magalong moved from having barangay lockdowns, clean-ups and disinfection; and later to single household lockdowns with sanitation practices for population protection.
Baguio turned out to be a model in heightened international or border control, as it has stringent protocols, the health secretary said, “Sumusunod naman ang mga tao, at disiplinado rin sila.” Vaccination, testing and online registration at digital platforms were made essential for travelling, thus contact tracing could be done easily.
As to bio-surveillance, Baguio has mastered the procedure, thus has calibrated epidemiological responses, such as those done in the previous Covid-19 surges.
Proper communication of the importance of minimum public health standards was also done in the city, so as not to have token compliance, Duque said. The order for the public to use face mask is strictly enforced by the Public Order and Safety Division and the Baguio City Police Office.
Contact tracers are not to be left behind as they joined the vaccination workforce, or monitor stay-at-home or mild/asymptomatic patients to reduce transmission, especially with the Omicron variant.
Duque lauded Baguio’s very high fully vaccinated rate of 97 percent, very good pandemic response, targeted testing, and adherence to the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate strategy.
These were done with Magalong’s prudent and exemplar leadership qualities, the health secretary said. – Julie G. Fianza