Davao City expands testing

Photo by Mark Perandos

THE Davao City Government has now ordered the “mandatory swab testing” of all close contacts, including the second and third generation contacts of confirmed Covid-19 patients.

This is part of the city’s recalibrated strategies to prevent and control the spread of the coronavirus in the city.

Acting Mayor Sebastian Duterte issued on Thursday, April 8, Executive Order (EO) 20, or "An Order Providing for Mandatory Swabbing of All F1, F2, And F3 Contacts of an RT-PCR [Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction] Confirmed Positive Case of Covid-19 In Davao City."

According to the EO, F1 contacts are those first-generation contacts of an RT-PCR confirmed Covid-19 positive case, while F2 contacts are those second-generation contacts of an RT-PCR confirmed Covid-19 positive case (close contacts of F1), and F3 contacts are those third-generation contacts of an RT-PCR confirmed Covid-19 positive case (close contacts of F2).

"There is a need to expand the testing of contacts beyond the F1 category as an attempt to control transmission of the virus," Duterte said in the EO.

He added that the date of swabbing shall be determined by the contact tracing team or the District Health Office.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is currently under medical leave, said in a radio interview on Monday, March 5, that the City will be expanding its testing to second and third generation contact.

Duterte-Carpio added that close contacts will now be notified through the Safe Davao QR (DQR) push notification that they will be subjected to testing.

Previously, F2 and F3 contacts were not subjected to testing and are only advised to self-monitor and isolate. They will only be tested once the F1 or an individual who had close contact with a Covid-19 patient will also test positive.

Meanwhile, the expansion of the contact tracing and swabbing is on top of the city’s intensified monitoring of its communities for those with influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms.

The World Health Organization defined ILI as an acute respiratory infection with the following: a measured fever of more than or equal to 38 degrees, cough, and onset within the last 10 days.

The city is set to establish "ILI and swab corner" in all district health centers.

Individuals who have ILI symptoms must be immediately referred to district swab centers or swab sites if not yet available. Those who have close contact with ILI patients must be monitored for signs and symptoms of ILI or Covid-19.

Duterte-Carpio said there is a need to recalibrate strategies to prevent and control Covid-19 transmission in the city due to the surge in cases in Metro Manila and other areas in the country and the emergence of new Covid-19 variants, despite the city continuing to experience a downtrend of cases.


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