‘THE RISE OF WALKING TIME BOMBS IN BAGUIO’
The Covid-19 positive cases have been on the rise in Baguio and in some parts of the Cordillera.
This was expected, it has been said, when expanded mass testing started.
But what has to be looked into more closely is the effect of breaches in health protocols on the spread of the virus. This concerns especially asymptomatic individuals who continue to go about their daily routine pending the release of their RT-PCR test result.
Of late, it has come to our attention that many of them do not practice home quarantine while waiting for their test results.
We have recorded several instances where asymptomatic Covid-19 patients continued to mingle with others before their test results were released, and records show that the surge of cases in recent weeks were direct contacts of patients or these asymptomatic cases.
To prevent the further surge of cases due to local transmission, we call on the concerned agencies and offices led by the Department of Health, City Health Services Office, and the City Mayor’s Office to impose mandatory home quarantine for all individuals who underwent RT-PCR test pending the release of their swab results. The Barangay Health Response Teams have a greater role to play by closely monitoring these individuals to ensure they will comply with the stay-at-home protocol.
While the city government is bent on reviving the economy by allowing several businesses to gradually open and hire workers, it is not a sound decision to already allow them to report for work or leave their homes while still waiting for the result of their RT-PCR test as any contagion resulting from this will bring more harm to the already suffering local economy.
The city’s bid to reboot its economy with the planned gradual opening of the tourism industry has suffered a major setback due to outbreak of cases at the Sto. Niño/Slaughterhouse Compound, Lourdes Subdivision Extension and in at least four to five barangays which made decisive responses from City Hall, DOH, CHSO, and the Baguio City Police Office imperative to prevent the further spread of the virus among residents in these communities.
We do not have qualms on the imposition of lockdowns in these barangays, but how viable will this be when the time comes that people may go hungry and government assistance is not sustainable. Will this result in residents being up in arms?
In this time that the Covid-19 infection has no cure yet, being vigilant in observing the minimum health protocols, including imposing the stay-at-home orders especially for the at-risk sectors, remains the best defense against local transmission. The public must eliminate the mistaken assumption that those not showing symptoms of the infection can go out of their homes while waiting for the results of their RT-PCR test without endangering the community.
With records from the DOH-Cordillera showing that majority of the more than 1,200 Covid-19 cases recorded in the region since March were asymptomatic, it would also be a challenge for the city government – a model in contact tracing methodology to craft a better response to prevent asymptomatic carriers from roaming like walking time bombs.
While the city government encourages the public to coexist with the virus, Baguio residents hope that along with this is a roadmap for a safer tomorrow under the new normal.