Editorial: Targeted testing in Davao City

THE city government of Davao is implementing a targeted testing strategy in a bid to detecct Covid-19 cases and prevent a clustering of cases.

Recently, the city government issued two executive orders (EO) strengthening the testing strategies of Davao City.

On March 26, 2021, Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio issued EO 18, heightening the surveillance and response of Covid-19 cases in the city.

Under EO 18, the city will put up swabbing corners in all district health centers to swab those with influenza-like illness (ILI). If the person with ILI tests positive for Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing the Covid-19, their close contacts will also be swabbed for testing if they "develop signs and symptoms of ILI or Covid-19."

Section 5 of EO 18 states that the health group of the response cluster should make a regular schedule of surveillance swabbing in high-risk areas: Business and commercial establishments (i.e. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Banks, Restaurants, etc.); Public places (i.e. Wet markets, Supermarkets, Stores, etc.); Government Offices; 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. These tests are voluntary and covered by the city.

CHO head Dr. Ashley Lopez, in an interview with Davao City Disaster Risk Radio (DCDR) 87.5 FM on Wednesday, April 7, said they have already swabbed a total of 934 individuals last Monday, April 5. Of this number, 138 came from the Sta. Ana Police Station, 379 from Barangay 2-A, 249 from Barangay 5-A, and 168 vendors of Agdao Public Market. The results of the test were reflected in the daily Covid-19 update of the Department of Health in Davao Region on April 7 when the city recorded 33 new Covid-19 cases.

Last week, the city also swabbed and tested 300 vendors and workers in Agdao Public Market where nine tested positive for Covid-19. All of them are asymptomatic.

Meanwhile, on April 6, 2021, acting mayor Sebastian Z. Duterte issued EO 20, which mandates the swabbing of all F1, F2, and F3 contacts of Covid-19 positive individuals. F1 contacts are those who had direct contact with a Covid-19 patient. F2 are those who had contact with an F1, who has tested positive for Sars-CoV-2. F3 are those who had contact with an F2 who has tested positive for Sars-CoV-2.

While it is not mass testing, the targeted testing approach also works in curbing the spread of Covid-19 testing. Mass testing would entail more resources. But with the finite sources of the local government unit, targeted testing would still allow the city to manage the Covid-19 situation.


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