Baguio still doing well in testing, contact tracing

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The city continues to do well in the implementation of aggressive expanded and targeted testing of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases and the contact tracing of high risk contacts that increased the number of cases over the past several weeks.

In terms of testing, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong disclosed the city performed some 32,468 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests and some 9,041 rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), representing more or less 10 percent of the city’s nighttime population of 370,000 and daytime population of 450,000.

For contact tracing, the mayor claimed the city is able to contact trace a ratio of 1:23 from the previous 1:37 because of the need to contact trace the identified high risk contacts of patients up to the third degree of their close contacts.

He explained the ability of the city’s contact tracing team to immediately identify and contact trace the high risk contacts of confirmed cases within 24 hours had greatly contributed in efforts to prevent the spread of the  virus in the city with some 52 identified clustering of cases in the city over the past several weeks.

The city chief executive disclosed that in the case of a province in Region IV-A which has a population of 4 million, its testing rate was only 3,850 with some 2,300 cases.

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Worst, the mayor stated the province’s contact tracing rate is only 1:4,  way below the supposed ideal contact tracing rate which means contact tracing was done only among family members of the confirmed patients.

Since using Baguio’s aggressive contact tracing system in this province, Magalong noted that number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased from only 190 to a whopping 300 cases daily causing the said province to be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

On the other hand, he narrated that in a province in Region I with a population of more than 600,000, the recorded testing rate 1:4.

He said the city will continue to share to other local governments in the country its best contact tracing practices to allow them to use appropriate strategies to prevent the rapid spread of the deadly virus in their area.

The city mayor asserted local governments must have to sustain the implementation of aggressive contact tracing and testing in their areas of jurisdiction to abate the rapid spread of the deadly virus that might overwhelm their own existing health care system.

Magalong has been appointed as the country’s contact tracing czar because of the city’s best contact tracing practices that had been shared to areas with high COVID-19 cases in the past.

By Dexter A. See

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