WITH the continued increase in coronavirus infections in Tacloban, the City Government is taking steps to strengthen contact tracing efforts to prevent community transmission of Sars-CoV-2.
Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin on Saturday, June 20, 2020 described the continued increase in cases as alarming. The Department of Health (DOH), however, said the increase is merely a result of aggressive testing.
“Cases are increasing rapidly. We must act fast, especially in contact tracing. The close contacts must immediately self-isolate, get tested, and if positive, seek treatment,” said Yaokasin.
He said they will have a meeting with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) to discuss contact tracing activities.
“I hope it’s not too late. This week will be very crucial for us. I hope we will not reach community transmission,” he said.
“The only consolation we have is that most (cases) are mild symptoms,” he added.
As of June 20, Tacloban has 32 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), about eight percent of the 395 total case count in Eastern Visayas.
In a statement, Department of Health (DOH)-Eastern Visayas clarified that the increase in cases in the region is a result of increased testing for returning residents like the beneficiaries of the Hatid Probinsya program, locally stranded individuals, and overseas Filipino workers.
On Saturday, the Divine Word Hospital Virology Laboratory (DWHVL) in Tacloban City released additional 59 laboratory results with 57 negative and two positive for Covid-19.
The Eastern Visayas Regional Covid-19 Testing Center (EVRCTC) also released a total of 247 laboratory results, of which 217 are negative and 30 are positive for the virus.
The confirmed cases are from Tacloban City (11); Dulag, Leyte (1); Bato, Leyte (1); Ormoc City (8); Palo, Leyte (1); Sta. Fe, Leyte (1); Tabon-tabon, Leyte (1); Malitbog, Southern Leyte (1); Bontoc, Southern Leyte (2); Villareal, Samar (1); and Basey, Samar (2).
Meanwhile, Yaokasin expressed concerns over the “depleted” budget for the city’s Covid-19 response.
He said most local government units in the region are already short on funds.
“The problem is most LGUs here ubos na it mga pondo for relief assistance and Covid-19 response. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released the Bayanihan grant for cities and municipalities equivalent to one-month Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA),” he said.
Tacloban has P73.9 million for its Covid-19 response.
Yaokasin reminded the public to fully cooperate with health authorities and take precautionary measures so as not to overwhelm the healthcare system.
He had cited the need to review quarantine protocols for returning overseas Filipino workers and locally stranded individuals so as not to put the population at risk. (Ronald O. Reyes)