Davao City notes increase in Covid-19 cases as it expands testing

Photo by Mark Perandos

THE Davao City Health Office (CHO) saw an increase in active Covid-19 cases in recent days since the City Government intensified its heightened surveillance and response of coronavirus infections and expanded its testing of all generation close contacts.

CHO Acting Head Dr. Ashley Lopez said in a radio interview on Wednesday, April 14, that they are expecting an increase in the number of active cases in the city due to the increased number of tests per day from an average of 600 to 1,000.

The increased testing is in accordance to Executive Orders 18 and 20.

According to EO 18, the surveillance will include tracking down influenza-like illnesses (ILI) -- an acute respiratory infection with a fever of more than 38 degrees Celsius and cough with onset within the last 10 days -- and referring them for swabbing.

The surveillance will be facility-based, community-based, and establishment-based.

EO 20, on the other hand, ordered the expanded mandatory swab testing of all close contacts, including the second and third generation contacts of confirmed Covid-19 patients.

According to EO 20, which was issued on April 8, F1 contacts are those first generation contacts of an RT-PCR confirmed Covid-19 case, while F2 contacts are those second generation contacts of an RT-PCR confirmed Covid-19 case (close contacts of F1). F3 contacts are those third generation contacts of an RT-PCR confirmed Covid-19 case (close contacts of F2).

Since the city started its surveillance swabbing within different communities and establishments, Lopez said they already tested almost 3,000 people, wherein nearly three percent tested positive.

Majority of the patients, he said, have mild and asymptomatic symptoms.

Also based on the Department of Health’s Covid-19 daily bulletin on April 12, Davao City has nearly over 400 active cases, but has recorded 83 new recoveries.

As of April 13, the city has a total of 370 active cases.

"Expect gyud ta daghan ta'g ma-swab, daghan ta'g ma-test (The more people we swab, we will be able to test more) and the target is about at least 1,000 tests per day. So kung daghan tang ma-test, daghan tag ma-detect na mga (when we get to do more tests, we would be able to detect more) positive [patients]," Lopez said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

Lopez said the heightened surveillance aims to determine the real scope of the transmission in Davao City.

He added this is to validate the city’s effectiveness in curbing the spread of the virus.

“But the turnout of the surveillance swabbing we are having right now, is indeed, tinuod or nag-prove sa atoa nga ang atong kaso against Covid-19 (validated or is proven that Covid-19 cases) in Davao City is slowing down,” the official said.

Despite detecting more positive patients, Lopez said the city’s daily positivity remains low with an average of 40 daily new cases reported.

Also, based on their weekly data analysis, the city's reproductive number and growth rate remain low.

Lopez said, though, that they are hoping that the new variant will not cause any sudden surge in the future.

He said the imposition of strict borders controls, like requiring the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for all air travelers entering in the city, helped in preventing the city from experiencing a possible surge.

Meanwhile, Lopez said the city will continue its community surveillance in the coming days.

He said, though, that there are still some who refused to be tested, and this is lower compared to those who volunteered.

"Maihap ra ang nag-refuse (There are only a few people who refused to be tested) but we are just trying to educate them, provide them with some correct information on kung unsa ang significant sa atong ginabuhat, unsay matabang aning swabbing, and unsa may truth and facts aning (on the significance of the purpose of our surveillance swabbing, and provide them the truth and facts of) Covid-19," Lopez said.

He encouraged them to cooperate and not doubt to participate if there are surveillance activities in their area.


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