Garcia orders mass swab sampling for 5K PUMs in Cebu

By: Rosalie Abatayo - Reporter/CDN Digital | April 30,2020 - 07:27 PM
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has ordered that all persons under monitoring in the province will undergo swab tests. | Screengrab from FB

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has ordered that all persons under monitoring in the province will undergo a swab test. | file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has ordered municipal and city health officers to already start collecting swab samples from all persons under monitoring (PUMs) in Cebu province’s towns and cities.

Garcia, in a meeting with the MHOs and CHOs on Thursday, April 30, 2020, said the Capitol would be working with the Department of Health (DOH) for the rollout of testing for coronavirus using the real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing.

This is after the governor, who earlier pushed for targeted mass testing using rapid antibody kits, made a turnaround and announced that the province would no longer push through with the measure citing low accuracy of the rapid kits.

READ: Capitol scraps rapid testing plan, pushes for PCR testing instead

Garcia said that if the antibody test results would still need to be confirmed for RT-PCR testing, then the province “would not waste money” on buying the kits and instead focus on the swab testing.

Quoting data from the Provincial Health Office (PHO), Garcia said there are over 5,100 PUMs in the towns and cities.

READ: PUMs in Cebu province increase despite border closure

This is far higher than the 3,614 PUMs that were logged in the city last April 16. Garcia said the increase might be attributed to the number of people who arrived in the towns from Cebu City and the contact tracing of the new COVID-19 cases in the province.

WATCH: Governor Gwendolyn Garcia meets with municipal, city health officers on COVID-19 protocols

“It is presumed that Cebu City now being the epicenter of COVID-19…perhaps they may have come in contact with asymptomatic persons here in Cebu City,” Garcia said.

“We will have to presume nga kining mga nanguli gikan sa Cebu City, nga karon pila na ni ka barangay nga dunay mga positive cases, we will have to presume nga they could [have] possibly come in contact with those who are positive,” Garcia added.

(We will have to presume that those who went home from Cebu City, where several barangays have positive cases of COVID-19, we will presume that they could have possibly come in contact with those, who are positive.)

Aside from mass testing for the PUMs, Garcia also called on the MHOs to intensify their active case finding and reporting of influenza-like illness (ILI) cases in the province.

Garcia said the MHO and CHOs should engage their barangay health workers to set out to the communities in finding the ILI cases in order to give a better picture on the health status of their community amid the coronavirus crisis./dbs

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TAGS: Cebu‬, mass swab test, mass testing, PUM

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