Baguio City Not Yet Ready For New Normal’

BAGUIO CITY (June 13, 2020) – Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong admitted that the city is not yet ready for the “new normal” taking cue from situations in the NCR, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions yet to normalize.
“Despite decreasing COVID-19 cases in these areas especially in NCR, I am still not confident in opening our local economy to places still hounded by infections,” the mayor explained.
Magalong pointed out, there are still COVID-19 infections being reported in Baguio’s neighboring local governments.
Benguet’s cases spiked to 15 on Friday, doubling its active cases in just a matter of two days.
Contact tracing reveals, most of those found with COVID-19 came in contact with Baguio City residents.
“So, even if those infected are not from Baguio, the city is still heavily affected,” the Mayor said.
Earlier, Magalong bared that before Baguio can transition to the new normal, it has to have a robust health infrastructure; quarantine and isolation facilities; faithful adherence of residents to health protocols; and, a digitalized emergency response system.
As to robust health infrastructures, Magalong underscored, there is still need for the city to have its own molecular laboratory to process increased Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RTPCR) tests being conducted locally.   This would establish a quicker response time in identifying health cases consistent with COVID-19 cases and patient contact tracing, he added.
Public-private partnership efforts in the establishment of quarantine and isolation facilities were also acknowledged.
Baguio City operates a triage facility at the St. Vincent Gym.
In coordination with the Department of Health and local private hospitals, it also opened up the old Sto. Niño Hospital in Padre Burgos Barangay to cater to COVID-19 patients.
Baguio City’s   transition to the new normal likewise hinges on the faithful adherence of Baguio City residents to health protocols, though he admitted that
there are still barangays being locked down for violating facemask and physical distancing policies.
Magalong believes the Modified General Community Quaratine here may still take about two more weeks or even longer.
Artemio A. Dumlao

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