THE Davao City Covid-19 Task Force saw a slight decline in the city's positivity rate, but this does not manifest a downtrend of cases.

Covid-19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser said in a radio interview on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, that the city's daily positivity rate slightly declined due to limitations of the city's capacity for testing.

"It can be attributed to that kay kung tan-awon nato atong positivity rate, although nagbaba man atong positivity rate from last time's 30.5 [percent], karon 28.8 percent, that's still actually high given nga ing-ana nga naa lang sa 300 average atong [daily new] cases, pero the fact nga gamay lang pud atong na-test as of the moment," Schlosser said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

(It can be attributed to that because if we look at our positivity rate, although there is a decline from last time's 30.5 percent, now 28.8 percent, that's still actually high given that we only have 300 average, but the fact is that we only have few tests as of the moment.)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a daily positivity rate below five percent signifies that the Covid-19 cases in a certain locality is manageable.

The City Government limited its mandatory swabbing by prioritizing high-risk individuals at the City's swabbing sites effective September 13 due to limited supply of Covid-19 detection kits for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

Schlosser said in a previous interview that the City will be prioritizing individuals tagged as first-generation contacts (F1) or those who are in close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 positive individual and those manifesting influenza-like illness (ILI) such as fever and cough.

She said only those high risk individuals will be prioritized in the city’s major swabbing sites at Sta. Ana Health Center and near Crocodile Park.

The health official said they decided to limit the testing to F1 and those with ILI since these are the people who will most likely test positive.

She said free swabbing for individuals tagged under the SafeDavao QR (DQR) Code, those who are subjected under community swabbing, and those who wish to get a medical certificate are currently suspended due to Southern Philippines Medical Center’s (SPMC) Molecular Laboratory operations being temporarily suspended.

SPMC Chief Dr. Ricardo Audan said they are already fixing the automated extraction machine of the SPMC Molecular Laboratory.

The molecular lab can process around 3,000 swab samples from Davao City and other parts of Davao Region.

Audan admitted that their machine experienced technical issues due to consistent use.

With this, the hospital can only manually process around 600 to 1,000 swab samples from SPMC and Davao City.

"Kasagaran man gud LGUs [local government units], diri man gud ginapadala sa amoa ilang samples. So nagpasensya sa mi for this. Pero gitawagan na namo ang supplier kagahapon [September 16]," he said.

(Majority of our LGUs send their samples to us. We apologize for this. But we already called our supplier September 16.)

Its temporary suspension is to give way for the repair of the automated extraction machine, which is being used to process the swabbed specimens.

Schlosser said they are pushing to fully operationalize all of the city’s molecular laboratories as soon as possible to expand its testing capacity and provide isolation and immediate medical intervention to those who test positive.

Meanwhile, the official said the City Government-owned Los Amigos Molecular Laboratory in Tugbok is back in operation after intensive disinfection and deployment of new personnel.

The disinfection of Los Amigos Molecular Laboratory was conducted to stem transmission of the coronavirus at the facility after its employees contracted the disease.

The affected employees are currently in quarantine and have been replaced with new health personnel.

Schlosser said the situation at the laboratory has been mitigated and managed to allow operation.

“All of those employees na nag-positive naka-isolate na po sila, na-decontaminate na ang area and that is why as of the moment functional ang Los Amigos Molecular lab, there are also a new set of employees,” she said.

(All those employees who were identified to be positive are in isolation, and the area is also decontaminated, that is why as of the moment the Los Amigos Molecular Lab is functional. There is also a new set of employees.)

Schlosser, meanwhile, said the repair of the extraction machine at SPMC is still ongoing.

She also said those belonging to F2 or F3 who cannot be accommodated at the swabbing centers can go to private swabbing centers to know their status. Those who will feel Covid-19 symptoms can automatically go to swab centers as they will be part of the priority being persons with ILIs.