THE Davao City Government plans to increase its Covid-19 testing capacity to at least about 1,000 specimens a day.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in a radio interview on Monday, March 29, that the city's health response clusters were instructed to increase their testing quantity from the average 400 to 700 tests per day.
"Kalakip anang instruction nga dapat i-increase ang testing so that paspas makit-an kung asa ang (Part of the instruction is the need to increase the testing so we could immediately trace the cases of) Covid-19," Duterte-Carpio said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.
The mayor said the health response clusters assured ample reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kits to meet the demand for increased testing quantity.
She said this is in line with her recently issued Executive Order (EO) 18, which orders for the "heightened surveillance and response" for the Covid-19 cases in the city.
According to the EO, "there is a need to recalibrate strategies to prevent and control Covid-19 transmission" in the city due to the surge of cases in Metro Manila and other areas in the country, and the emergence of new Covid-19 variants.
Part of the city’s strategies, the mayor said, is to intensify the monitoring of its communities for those with influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defined ILI as an acute respiratory infection with the following: a measured fever of more than or equal to 38 degrees, cough, and with onset within the last 10 days.
Section 2 of the EO states that there will be an establishment of "ILI and swab corner" in all district health centers.
Individuals who have ILI symptoms must be immediately referred to district swab centers or to swab sites, if not yet available.
Those who have closed contact with ILI patients must be monitored for signs and symptoms of ILI or Covid-19.
Once they manifest signs and symptoms, they must immediately be swabbed.
Section 3 of the EO mandates all contact tracers, barangay health workers (BHWs), and barangay health emergency response teams (BHERTs) to refer for swabbing those found with ILI or Covid-19 signs and symptoms to the nearest district health centers or Sta. Ana Health Center.
In addition, children and adults with ILI symptoms shall undergo Covid-19 RT-PCR testing. While waiting for their test result, they are required to undergo mandatory home quarantine.
Individuals with ILI symptoms who have tested negative can only be released from home quarantine once they become asymptomatic, except, if they need to work or do business.
The health response clusters are also ordered to make a regular schedule of surveillance swabbing in high-risk areas without implementing the mandatory home quarantine post-swabbing such as but not limited to: business and commercial establishments (i.e. business process outsourcing, banks, restaurants, etc.); public places (i.e. wet markers, supermarkets, stores, etc.); and government offices.
Also included are private offices and agencies (i.e. recruitment agencies, etc.); closed facilities (i.e. Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Bahay Pag-asa, home for the aged, orphanage, etc.); and other barangays and areas deemed high risk by the City Health Office.
The mayor said the city is more prepared in case they would be able to catch more positive individuals in the community as they have prepared different facilities, including a hotel-type for paying patients.
"Ngano ginakuha nato ang mga tao is para dili na siya makatakod og laing tao ug aron dili na mukatag ang sakit ug cases (We have to continue to detect those who are positive for Covid-19 so that they won’t be able to infect others and causes case surge)," Duterte-Carpio said.
She also allayed the fears of the public who get tested for Covid-19, saying that in case they will be yielded positive for coronavirus, they will not be treated as prisoners because they will just be taken from their residences to the hospitals or treatment facilities for them to recover.