City eyes expansion of Covid-19 testing area

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THE Davao City Health Office is planning to add more Covid-19 swab testing areas, including a drive-thru, to cater to more targeted individuals.

City Health Office (CHO) Acting Head Dr. Ashley Lopez said in a radio interview on Wednesday, April 21, that their office is planning to expand its Covid-19 testing to open field areas such as the Magsaysay Park and People's Park to cater to targeted residents within the downtown area.

The move aims to decongest the Sta. Ana Health Center, the city's main swabbing center, which is currently experiencing congestion with the mandatory swab testing of all close contacts, including the second and third generation contacts of confirmed Covid-19 patients.

According to Executive Order (EO) 20, issued on April 8, F1 refers to first-generation contacts of an RT-PCR confirmed Covid-19 positive case, while F2 are the second-generation contacts of an RT-PCR confirmed Covid-19 positive case (close contacts of F1), and F3 are the third-generation contacts of an RT-PCR confirmed Covid-19 positive case (close contacts of F2).

Close contacts are notified through the Safe Davao QR (DQR) Code push notification, which took effect on April 12.

Lopez admitted they were not able to anticipate the number of individuals who were notified and scheduled for testing during the first days since the program was only recently integrated in the DQR.

He said, however, that they already regulated the schedule of those who will be subjected for swabbing to avoid convergence at the centers.

"After which, atong na-address dayon ang mga needs ug mga resources nga kinahanglan para atong malikayan nga mahitabo ning ingon aning congestion sa Sta. Ana [we addressed the needs and resources needed so that congestion at the Sta. Ana (health center) will be prevented]," Lopez said.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio recently said the city is fast-tracking the establishment of swabbing centers in district health centers to decongest the main swabbing center.

Lopez said the city is also planning to establish a drive-thru swab testing at the Davao Crocodile Park, targeting public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and food and service delivery riders.

He said they already conducted ocular inspection in the area, and they are finalizing the plan, including an executive order coming from the mayor.

"Dako ni siyang tabang kung ma-implement nato tanan para sa atong (This is a big help if we could implement all of this) Covid[-19] operations, particularly sa (in the) testing aspect sa (of) Covid-19," Lopez said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

The health official said they will be coordinating with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for the targeted surveillance swabbing.

"Isa pud ni nga way aron ma-catch ug maapil atong mga drivers sa atong surveillance (This is one way to catch and enjoin our drivers in our surveillance)," he said, adding they are also one of the exposed sectors of the virus.

The move is part of the city's intensified community swabbing, in accordance with Executive Order 18, which orders for the "heightened surveillance and response" for the Covid-19 cases in the city.

Part of the EO’s mandate is 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.

The City had recently conducted its surveillance swabbing in wet markets, and sidewalk vendors.


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