Mass test to prove city is safe from COVID-19
Until mass testing is not carried out, it is still premature to claim that the Covid-19 cases in Baguio have reached its peak.
This was the sentiment shared by a medical expert with a crucial role in the government’s fight against the Covid-19 during a meeting among chiefs of hospitals and other medical experts with Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong.
Referring to an earlier social media post, the medical expert claimed it is misleading for one to claim that Baguio has reached the Covid-19 peak on account of the fact that there were no reported confirmed cases for nine straight days.
The supposed social media post quoted City Health Services Officer Rowena Galpo as saying that Baguio has flattened the curve, as no confirmed Covid-19 cases were recorded for seven straight days last week.
Magalong defended Galpo saying her statement was taken out of context, although citizens gave positive feedbacks after learning that there were no new cases in Baguio.
Magalong said the city government through the CHSO is ready to roll out the mass test if the rapid test kits are made available.
On Tuesday, the city government reported it started to conduct rapid tests of health workers and PUIs confined at home with mild Covid-19 symptoms.
On April 2, Magalong gave the go signal for the rapid tests after consulting with government health practitioners to further hasten the identification of those who are infected and facilitate treatment, isolation, and contact tracing.
Results are not confirmatory for the tests which use test kits donated to the city government by some entities.
PUIs with mild symptoms who would test positive will be subjected to polymerase chain reaction confirmatory tests while those with negative results will be made to continue their 14-day quarantine.
City Health Officer Rowena Galpo said all 23 PUIs tested April 4 yielded negative results while 36 others who were checked April 6 are still awaiting results.
The mayor said the city has around 400 donated kits enough to cover all PUIs in home quarantine.
The Department of Health-Cordillera reported last week that mass testing will focus on PUIs showing mild symptoms. Mass testing does not mean all individuals will be covered.
As of April 7, there are 82 PUIs in health facilities; 406 are on home quarantine, and 549 others discharged from treatment for a total of 1,037.
Earlier, CHSO has advised Baguio residents that the absence of new Covid-19 cases in the city for several days does not mean that the fight against the disease is over and that people can now afford to be complacent.
“People must not let their guards down but should continue observing control measures to sustain it in the remaining 12 days of the enhanced community quarantine and beyond,” Galpo said.
Magalong said the city had to conduct follow-through tracing of contacts to make sure that no one was missed.
“There were gaps before that we are now addressing so we will not be surprised if more cases will turn up,” the mayor said. – Harley F. Palangchao with reports from Aileen Refuerzo