IATF eyes intensified testing in Cebu City

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital | July 01,2020 - 05:43 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) is planning to intensify the testing and contact tracing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients to hasten the control of the rising cases in Cebu City.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque, III, said in a press conference in Mandaue City, Cebu, on July 1, 2020, that it is imperative for local government units (LGU) to conduct intensified testing in order to know the extent of the community transmission as well as the spread of the infection.

He also said that the bigger issue in Cebu City is its testing adequacy. As of now, the city only has a testing capacity of 6,000.

“Testing is a key measure that LGUs should endeavor, the less you test, chances are your positivity case goes up. One of the must-do is to test adequately,” said Duque.

Duque said this is one of the goals of the IATF to improve the situation of the city in the next 15 days of extended Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said in the same press conference that the country plans to hire 50,000 contact tracers to aid in the increased testing in the various local government units (LGUs).

The contact tracing is a delegated responsibility to the LGUs and the DOH do not really have a hand on it.

In Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella said they have established 80 teams of contact tracers that have begun training on June 30, 2020.

The city targets 1,000 to 3,000 tests per day in order to reach the target of the IATF of 6,000 testing capacity.

“We are going into that direction (contact tracing). What is important is we are able to find out the extent of the infection of the pandemic,” said the mayor.

The mayor also said that the results of the test have been reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours allowing for faster testing, isolation of the patient, and contact tracing.

Coordinated release of info

The release of the results of this testing will also be coordinated better as the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) said it will work in coordination with the Cebu City Health.

On June 30, 2020, City Health reported 353 new cases of the COVID-19 while DOH-7 reported only a hundred cases.

Labella said the cases were actually swabbed from June 22 to June 29, 2020, with an average of 38 new cases per day.

With this, the DOH-7 and City Health will work on a much more coordinated release of the information to avoid confusion.

Labella also promised that the cases per barangay will be reported again to the public, after they stopped reporting these since the beginning of June 2020.

However, Duque urged the LGU that only verified numbers must be released giving emphasis to active cases instead of total cases. /bmjo








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TAGS: Cebu City, COVID cases, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, Health Secretary Francisco Duque, intensified testing, Mayor Edgardo Labella

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