Baguio COVID-19 testing, tracing lead to discovery of more infections

BAGUIO CITY  - Mayor Benjamin Magalong reported that expanded or targeted testing and contact tracing continued to help the city locate those afflicted with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and institute control measures that would prevent widespread infection.

Magalong said these systems have to be sustained as they were effective means to find more unknown carriers of the virus to isolate and treat them and their contacts, and administer the control measures to stem the transmissions.

Based on the turnout of the cases, as reported by the doctors leading the contact tracing teams, most of the positive cases discovered through expanded testing were asymptomatic or exhibiting no symptoms at all.

"Just imagine if we did not subject them to tests and they continue to go about their lives and their jobs unknowingly spreading the virus in their homes, workplaces and places they visit with their contacts who are also infected doing the same," Magalong explained.

He said the city will continue to require sectors or industries to do mandatory testing especially those found to be highly susceptible.

All those working in banks and groceries have been required by the Magalong to undergo mandatory testing after random testing, and many showed clustering of infections within their ranks.

True enough, several cases had been discovered in both industries contributing to the spike in cases in the past weeks.

Magalong said the city continues to find ways to sustain its expanded testing program to locate more positive patients and implement control measures at once.

Last August 29, the city conducted the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or swab testing with the help of COVID-19 Program Deputy Chief Implementer Sec. Vince Dizon which covered a total of 824 persons from high risk sectors.

He said that of those tested, 14 turned out to be infected, indicating a positivity rate of 1.7 percent.

Magalong said the PRC has set another round of tests on September 17 to 19 to target 3,000 people, and he has already allotted 1,000 tests for the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan,Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area on September 18.

As of August 31, the city has conducted a total of 36,890 RT-PCR tests apart from thousands of rapid diagnostic and the newly adopted antigen tests.

Of the total, almost 80 percent of those tested were either for targeted testing or contact tracing.

"We are presently identifying the target sectors and sub-sectors,” Magalong said.