Opav helps out Roxas City, Capiz Covid-19 response

THE Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav) is committed to helping Capiz and Roxas City in their fight against Covid-19.

“If there is anything we can do to help Capiz in ensuring it is protected from the virus, we will be very glad to extend it to the province," said Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard "Jonji" Gonzales of Opav.

In partnership with the Inter-Agency Task Force for Covid-19 Visayas Chief Implementer General Melquiades Feliciano, Opav has been extending help to Western Visayas in terms of improving laboratory capacity and implementing Emergency Operations Center in Covid-19 hotspot areas.

During Opav's first visit to Capiz on September 3, Gonzales met Mayor Roberto Palomar of Tapaz, Capiz followed by a Zoom meeting with Governor Esteban Contreras and the mayors of Capiz.

Contreras expressed the need for additional nurses and doctors in the province since some of their frontliners have resigned.

Opav is now coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) to facilitate the request for augmentation of healthcare workers in Capiz and Roxas City.

It can be recalled that DOH Central Visayas sent an initial two groups of healthcare workers composed of 24 nurses to Bacolod City and Iloilo City.

Opav will also assist Roxas City and Capiz in the operation of their molecular laboratories.

Capiz City recently acquired a relocatable containerized reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing laboratory at the Hortus Botanicus grounds. The laboratory is expected to help fast track the processing of swab samples.

Currently, the majority of the specimens coming from Roxas City are sent for processing to the Western Visayas Medical Center Subnational Laboratory in Iloilo City. However, the turn-around time for the results is about one week or more.

Department of Health Western Visayas Regional Director Marlyn Convocar earlier bared plans to put up a molecular laboratory at the government-run Roxas Memorial Provincial Hospital in Roxas City.

If both these laboratories will start operation, the turn-around time of the specimens will be cut down to just a few days.

Opav returned to Capiz on September 10, accompanied by Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH Central Visayas chief pathologist, and Prince Balaba, head medical technologist.

This time, Opav met Roxas City Mayor Ronnie Dadivas to discuss the latter’s concerns over Covid-19.

“I would like to express my thanks to Opav for the support and for visiting Roxas City," said Mayor Dadivas.

He also said he is looking forward Opav, DOH, and IATF will also be able to help the city’s molecular laboratory, which is set to open soon.

Meanwhile, Loreche and the rest of the team shared the best practices of Cebu with the health officials, including testing modalities and laboratory practices of the DOH-Central Visayas molecular laboratory.

Loreche explained the problems they faced and the practices that the Cebu laboratory implemented to be able to cope with the rising number of swab specimens.

Gonzales has been going to Capiz and other areas in Western Visayas, upon the instruction of Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, presidential assistant for the Visayas, to determine how Opav can help local government units strengthen their efforts against the pandemic.

Opav has been focusing on helping Western Visayas in their fight against Covid-19 upon the direction of President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go. (PR)


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