Health official: Aggressive testing had 'little impact'; daily new cases decreasing

Photo by Mark Perandos
Photo by Mark Perandos

A HIGH-RANKING health official observed that the recently concluded aggressive community testing (ACT) in the Davao City did not bring a huge impact in its case finding, as only 206 of the 1,400 or 14.71 percent targeted individuals tested positive.

Dr. Ashley Lopez, Davao City Health Covid-19 focal person, said in a radio interview that the ACT, a three-day activity from December 1 to 3, 2020, spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH), covered 10 districts consisting of 40 city barangays.

Based on the figure, positive individuals did not reach 50 percent of the total targeted individuals in the testing.

"Naobserbahan namo, dili man siya... wala siya naghatag og impact sa among daily activities sa Covid. Maski wala ang aggressive community testing, on average, makuha gihapon namo to, ma-meet gihapon namo ang katong swabbist," Lopez said in an interview via 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

(We observed that this did not bring an impact to our daily Covid-19 activities. Even in the absence of ACT, on average, we could still be able to meet our target number of positive individuals.)

He added the city is not dependent on the ACT on a daily basis as the city still meets its daily target.

ACT is a rapid and intensive Covid-19 testing done in high prevalent areas and in areas where there was a significant increase in cases in a short period of time.

The community swabbing was conducted to immediately contain the spread of the virus and will be done simultaneously in different parts of the country.

Those who were tested are the F1 (close contacts of existing positive patients), F2 (close contact of F1), and the F3 (close contact of F2) patients.

DOH-Davao Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit Cleo Fe Tabada on Friday, December 4, 2020, said as of Thursday, only 3,430 targeted individuals coming from three identified localities in Davao Region were tested. This is only 34 percent of its targeted 10,000 individuals on the ACT.

Tabada said some of those included in the ACT might have already been tested prior to the conduct of the community testing.

She admitted that some still refused to be tested due to various reasons, despite assuring them that it will be free of charge and that they will be personally transported to the testing area.

Lopez, however, did not mention if this had also been experienced in the city’s testing. He said, overall, those targeted in the city testing had been cooperative.

On Monday, Davao City topped in the December 7 DOH data in the list of areas with the most number of newly announced Covid-19 cases with 187 cases, making the city the only area in the country with three-digit new cases.

Lopez said the figure can be "partially attributed" to the community testing.

He said the city is still intensifying its contact tracing even before the conduct of the ACT.

A total of 1,500 contact tracers are distributed in the different districts.

"Sobra pa sa sufficient atong (We have a sufficient) number of contact tracers," Lopez said.

He said per the index case, they are targeting to gather at least eight direct contacts from the residence to the workplace and other areas where the direct positive have closed contacts with.

"Kung ato na makuha, dako na siya og tabang sa pag-lower down sa cases because we all know na local transmission ang source sa atong infection ron. Gina-maximize namo ang pag-implement sa contact tracing," the health official said.

(If we are able to catch them, this would help in lowering down the cases because we all know that local transmission is the current source of infection in the city. We are maximizing our contact tracing efforts.)

Meanwhile, Lopez said there has been a gradual decrease of recorded daily new cases in the city in the previous month.

Based on the data, the city had no longer recorded three-digit cases in a day. The average cases per day are now between 61 to 65.

The official said this is not something to be complacent about.

"This is not something to celebrate kay atong (because our) target is to reduce the number of cases daily into a single digit," Lopez said.

He earlier said the city is targeting a daily positivity rate of 5 percent or below.

With the Christmas holiday drawing near, he encouraged the public to avoid large parties and other gatherings to lessen the risk of widespread transmission.

"Di na ta mag-hold mga dagkong celebration aron malikayan nato ang further transmission sa Covid-19 diria sa Davao City.

Ang sitwasyon is dili pa stable. (Let us refrain from holding large gatherings to avoid further coronavirus transmission here in Davao City. Our situation is still unstable.) We are still suffering the surge," Lopez said.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio previously warned of a possible spike in Covid-19 cases early 2021.


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