An estimated 5, 000 close contacts of the COVID-19 cases in Dumaguete City are being targeted for RT-PCR swab test scheduled next week that will help authorities promptly identify, isolate and treat those who will be found positive of the virus, which is a strategy to bring down the surge of cases.
Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo instructed City Health Officer Dr. Maria Sarah B. Talla to provide logistics and deploy the required personnel in close coordination with Dr. Socrates Villamor of DOH-Negros Oriental and Dr. Liland Estacion of the IPHO so that testing can be begin as soon as Monday (May 31) for all known contacts, both symptomatic and asymptomatic.
The City’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is teaming up with the Department of Health Region 7 and the Integrated Provincial Health Office to undertake the tried and tested strategy of comprehensive contact tracing, testing, isolation and treatment of COVID cases.
Four (4) teams of medical technologists will be deployed in the barangays with high number of COVID-19 cases to conduct massive swab test for 500 close contacts, co-workers, friends and families of COVID patients per day.
Dr. Villamor said that DOH Region 7 will supply the needed swab kits and devote its regional molecular laboratory to test run all the collected swab samples with the results expected to be released within 16-24 hours upon receipt at the DOH 7 in Cebu City.
Meanwhile, Dr. Estacion will provide additional medical technologists to meet the manpower requirement and ensure the safe and quick transport of the swab samples to DOH -7 in Cebu every afternoon.
Each person that will be swabbed is required to go on quarantine while waiting for the results. The Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and the City Health Office will arrange for the quarantine facilities of those who were tested to be released only if they test negative.
Health authorities said that the public should expect the number of COVID active cases to increase further because of testing but this is needed if only to methodically control the surge at the soonest possible time.
It should be noted that as the capital city and center of trade and commerce people from other towns, cities and neighboring provinces flock to Dumaguete City to do business and purchase essential needs exposing residents to potential carriers of COVID-19.