Baguio races to ‘flatten the curve;’ no new cases recorded in the last 11 days

Published April 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Zaldy Comanda

BAGUIO CITY – While the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) contagion rages in other parts of the country, the Summer Capital is racing to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the virus.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong  (JJ Landingin / MANILA BULLETIN)
Mayor Benjamin Magalong

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said it has been 11 days since the city had its last confirmed COVID-19 case on March 28, 2020. If this trend keeps up, the city can claim to have truly “flattened the curve” or reined in the insidious disease, he added.

“Until then, we should continue holding the line by sustaining our vigilance and not lapsing into complacency,” Magalong said.

“This is our 11th day, but technically our 14th day without any COVID-19 positive case. Our combined containment and control measures are working. But these favorable development must not be replaced with complacency,” he said.

“We will continue to close our borders except to those with essential travels,” Magalong added.

“The 24-hour curfew will continue to be in effect in the city. The city government will also sustain mass testing of PUIs and select PUMs, enhance further contact tracing through the use of technology and cognitive interviewing skills, mandate the wearing of masks, maintain social distancing, and most importantly, keep praying to the Lord for protection,” Magalong said in his Viber message to this writer.

“Discipline is the key. We are being rewarded because this is the 11th day that no confirmed case was recorded. Recoveries are rising while COVID-19 positive cases are going down. Keep up the cooperation.”

The success in maintaining a “zero new case,” he said, is due to the strong working link between the city government, national line agencies led by the Department of Health Cordillera and the Inter-Agency Task Force, and the private sector.

Magalong said Baguio is doing good as far as COVID-19 control prevention is concerned. Patients are recovering and PUIs and PUMs are decreasing.

“I thank our constituents for their cooperation. Their being disciplined is helping us fight and control this virus. I also thank the barangay officials for their rigorous approach in keeping their residents at home and the strict police implementation of the window hour or market day and curfew hours,” Magalong added.

He added that the other factors that might have contributed to the city’s initial gains are the early imposition of preventive measures like public health etiquette on hand washing, cough and sneeze manners, cancellation of Panagbenga and crowd-drawing events, cancellation of classes and imposition of community quarantine, closure of borders, thermal scanning, sanitation tents, and the use of technology in detection and in contact tracing.

There were also the “out-of-box” solutions like deviations from protocols like the early imposition of the wearing of masks, declaration of cases, and conduct of contact tracing ahead of the confirmation of positive cases, and the patients’ identity disclosure that facilitated early detection and prevented further transmission.

As of April 6, the city has 390 PUIs under home isolation. Magalong gave the signal to conduct rapid tests of health workers and Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) confined at home with mild COVID-19 symptoms.

Magalong said the city has around 400 donated kits which are enough to cover all PUIs under home quarantine.

He gave the signal for the rapid tests after consulting with government health practitioners to further hasten the identification of those who are infected and facilitate their treatment, isolation, and contact tracing.

PUIs with mild symptoms who will test positive will be subjected to PCR confirmatory tests while those with negative results will be made to continue their 14-day quarantine.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said 23 PUIs tested last April 4 yielded negative results, while 36 others who were checked April 6, are still awaiting results.

Data from the COVID-19 Monitoring Bulletin of the City Health Services Office showed the significant decrease in the number of PUIs after the mass testing was conducted.

As of April 8, a total of 14 persons have been identified and hospitalized in the city (5 admitted in hospital, 8 recovered, and 1 death). PUIs (9 in hospital, 251 in home isolation, 244 recovered) with the total of 342 tested negative.

On April 7, PUIs recorded were at 362 (home isolation), 16 (admitted in hospitals), and 314 tested negative.

Magalong also extended class suspension in all levels until the end of May after a meeting on Wednesday with representatives from the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.