Take extra care not to bring home the virus, residents urged amid surge in COVID-19 cases

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City officials urged residents to take extra precautions to avoid bringing home the virus amid the ongoing surge in Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city.

As more case clustering in households and work places were recorded, Mayor Benjie Magalong again appealed to the public to religiously observe health and safety protocols both inside and outside their homes.

“At home, wash your hands and change your clothes before you spend time with your family, disinfect your door knobs and other frequently touched surfaces in the home, and monitor each other for flu-like symptoms.  When outside, always wear your masks and shields properly, observe physical distancing, wash hands and disinfect regularly and avoid crowded and enclosed spaces and close conversations,” he reiterated.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said that the minimum public health standards remain to be the best weapon against the virus and its variants at this time when the vaccination program has just taken off.

Galpo said there was a sustained increased positivity rate from Feb. 19 to March 14.

The city’s two-week growth rate (TWGR) of COVID-19 cases posted a growth change of 61.5 percent from 32 percent from the last reporting date while the average daily attack rate (ADAR) for the last two weeks also reached 12.9 percent more than double the threshold of five percent.

With the spike in cases, the city’s critical care utilization rate also increased albeit there are remaining available slots in the city’s isolation units.

Four large case clusters are being addressed and all occurred at work places but Mayor Magalong said geo-spatial analysis showed that some of the cases are interrelated or are members of same households.

“In one tagged household, you will find members who work in the four establishments with outbreaks so there is correlation and this is why we have to be conscious of the safety protocols.  Let us not bring home the virus,” he said.

The mayor said the spike in cases was expected also because of the increase in mobility among people with the easing up of restrictions.

“We also do not discount the big possibility that the new variants that are more transmissible are already here in the city based on link analysis done on patients so we really need to strictly adhere to the health protocols on wearing of face masks and shield and observance of proper hygiene and physical distancing,” he said.

He however assured that the city is on top of situation with all the control and management systems in place and promised continuing transparency in informing the constituents of the goings on in the continuing fight against the disease.

To prevent transmission in homes, these measures are being reiterated:

*Before entering homes or living quarters, wash hands, disinfect and change your clothes.

*As much as possible maintain distance from one another.  Sleeping and eating arrangements must be reviewed and altered if possible to allow distancing.

*High risk family members (those regularly going out for work) must avoid sharing utensils with other family members and avoid intimate gestures like kissing children.

*As much as possible, minimize social gatherings and drinking sprees where sharing of common drinking glass and is practiced;

*Regularly disinfect door knobs and frequently touched surfaces and keep windows open to aerate or allow ventilation in homes.

*Thoroughly cleanse and disinfect items and containers bought outside.

*Monitor each other for COVID-related symptoms and do self-quarantine or isolation when in doubt.

*Adopt a healthy lifestyle to boost your immune system by eating healthy, well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, taking vitamin supplements, taking maintenance medicines regularly for those with comorbidities, getting enough rest and sleep and exercising regularly.

*Find safe ways to unwind safely.

*Meditate and pray.  – Aileen P. Refuerzo/PIO Baguio

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