ONLY 6.3 percent of Benguet’s total population were tested for coronavirus disease (Covid-19), according to the Department of Health (DOH)-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Karen Lonogan, of the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit of DOH-CAR, during the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for Covid-19 meeting, said Benguet with a population of 485,941 persons tested 6.3 percent or 30,184 individuals for Covid-19, with 869 found coronavirus-positive.
In Baguio City, of the 376,106 population, 53,682 individuals or 14.5 percent out of the 376,106 population were tested, with 1,194 yielding positive result.
The province of Abra with the third highest population of 247,331 tested 2.3 percent or 6,406 individuals.
For CAR, Lonogan said there are 3,231 cases, 37 deaths, 2,150 recoveries and 1,044 active cases, noting almost 80 percent of the cases are from Baguio and Benguet.
The epidemiologists said that compared to the percentage of population tested, Baguio has higher tests conducted compared to that of Benguet.
Lonogan said at least two percent of the general population should be tested for Covid-19, which to date, all the provinces in the region conducted.
Meanwhile, Benguet Governor Melchor Diclas said machines and equipment needed for the operation of the molecular laboratory at Benguet General Hospital is still undergoing procurement, while the medical workers to work in the laboratory have already finished their trainings.
Diclas said they have already retrieved the automated extractor and the RT-PCR machine previously loaned at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.
The donated molecular laboratory seeks to boost the coronavirus disease testing capacity of Benguet province.
Diclas pointed out one of the observations of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong is the 30 tests conducted per town in Benguet in a day.
He said the reason the city has more Covid-19 cases is because of the tests it conducted.
During a recent meeting, Magalong said the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (Blistt) has to strengthen its cooperation in the fight against Covid-19.
The towns of Tuba and Tublay had agreed on measures to unify and synchronize Covid-19 efforts, particularly on contact tracing, isolation, treatment and testing.
“Even if we are testing a lot in our city and our neighbors are not, infections will still occur. Nagpapalitan lang tayo,” Magalong said.
He pledged to help the towns augment not only their testing kits but also their personal protective equipment.
The towns will again be allocated testing slots in the third marathon testing activity to be conducted by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) in the city on October 26-28.
Of the 3,000 tests that will be conducted, Magalong said 1,100 will be allocated to the Benguet towns -- 400 to La Trinidad, 200 each to Tuba and Itogon, and 100 each to Sablan, Tublay, and Kapangan which requested for the kits.
Aside from the test kits from BCDA, Provincial Health Office Medical
Specialist I Antonette Agpas said that this week, a total of 5,000 kits were donated by Baguio City and free charge and swabbing service were given to the regional health units and hospitals in the province of Benguet. (With a report from Baguio City Public Information Office)