By ANTONIO L. COLINA IV
DAVAO CITY – Mayor Sara Duterte has ordered local health authorities to conduct regular “surveillance swabbing” in the city’s high-risk COVID-19 areas.
Duterte said during her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday, she wanted to jack up the daily testing capacity to over 1,000 from the average of 600 to capture the individuals who are positive for coronavirus disease in the communities.
Duterte told individuals to “self-monitor” for any signs and symptoms of influenza-like illness like fever and cough, and to get tested if they experience these symptoms.
“Dabawenyos should self-monitor for symptoms. There is nothing to fear because we have COVID-19 facilities whether you are asymptomatic or mild. If you are severe or moderate, we have hospital for you. Once you recover, then you can go home,” she said.
She said the city government offers a free swab test.
As of March 29, Barangay 15-B has been classified as a “critical risk” barangay while Barangays 27-C, 38-D, Bago Gallera, Mintal, and their adjacent Barangays 14-B, Agdao Proper, Kapt. Tomas Monteverde, Sr. in Agdao as “high-risk” areas until April 3.
She said the local government has assured sufficient supply of testing kits. The three COVID-19 laboratories operating in the city are Southern Philippines Medical Center, molecular laboratory at Davao International Airport, and private-owned Davao One World Diagnostic Center.
“We can see that our number of cases are going down, but we should not wait for it to go back up again. What we are going to do is to undertake a surveillance of influenza-like illness,” she said.
Persons who have influenza-like illness must be tested immediately, she said.
Under Executive Order 18 released last Friday, the close contacts of persons suffering from influenza-like illness would be closely monitored and that they would be swabbed if any of the symptoms develops.
Individuals showing flu symptoms will be subjected to mandatory home quarantine while waiting for their RT-PCR test results, it added. Those who will test negative for COVID-19 will be released from home quarantine once they recover from flu, except when they need to work or do business.
She also directed the contact tracers, Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) and Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs), to refer individuals manifesting flu symptoms for swabbing.
Duterte also ordered the health authorities to make regular schedule of surveillance swabbing in business and commercial establishments; public places, including, among others, wet markets, supermarkets, and stores; government offices; private offices and agencies; closed facilities such as Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bahay Pag-asa, Home for the Aged, and orphanage; and other barangays and areas deemed high risk by the City Health Office.