Baguio residents urged to take extra precautions as spike of cases expected to continue
BAGUIO CITY, Apr. 26–The spike in the number of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the city as experienced April 25 was expected and is even seen to continue in the coming days as the city had begun conducting more confirmatory tests with the arrival of additional test kits and machines, City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said today.
As this developed, Mayor Benjamjn Magalong urged residents to be extra conscious in observing health and safety precautions as he directed the sustained stricter implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine rules on checkpoints, lockdowns, curfew, physical distancing, wearing of masks and others.
Galpo said they expect more positive cases when the city formally starts the expanded risk-based testing using the Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) confirmatory test kits on Monday, April 27 at 200 tests a day to run until May 15.
The risk-based testing enables the locality to seek out those infected not only from the pool of suspected ones who manifest symptoms but also from the group of probable cases who are asymptomatic. This enables early detection and thus leads to the prevention of the transmission of the virus.
Galpo said six of the eight diagnosed patients yesterday were tested not because they had symptoms but because they fell in the categories fit for risk-based testing.
“The new cases included four health workers from the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center and they were tested not because they had symptoms but because they are health workers. The same way that the two Overseas Filipino Workers at Teachers’ Camp were also tested even if they are asymptomatic because of their history of travel,” Galpo said.
Only two of the patients — the hotel employee and the eight-day old had symptoms and thus were tested.
Mayor Magalong himself said that without mass testing, the city cannot determine its true situation as to the extent of the contagion.
“We have local transmissions of which source remains unascertained so I am not comfortable.
If you ask me if it is true that we only have 18 cases, I don’t think so,” he told businessmen last week.
He said the city can now undertake more tests with the arrival of his requested PCR machines. There are now four machines at the BGHMC with two working and two being calibrated.
He said the BGHMC test facility has so far received 8,100 RT-PCR test allocation to cover Northern Luzon.
To supplement this, city April 4 started mass testing using privately donated rapid test kits which although not confirmatory were helpful in determining who are highly probable and who are not among the suspected cases on home quarantine.
Galpo said the city as of April 24 had conducted 847 RT-PCR confirmatory tests and 411 rapid tests. (Aileen P. Refuerzo-PIO Baguio City)