Baguio’s Spike In COVID19 Cases Expected To Continue

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The spike in the number of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city that began Saturday (April 25) was a no surprise, Baguio City health officer Dr. Rowena Galpo has admitted.

Even expecting to continue in the coming days,  Galpo attributes the sudden spike of cases here as Baguio City has begun conducting more confirmatory tests with the arrival of additional test kits and machines, the government physician declared.

With this, Baguio 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, curfews, physical distancing, wearing of masks and others.

Galpo said they expect more positive cases when the city starts the expanded risk-based testing using the Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) confirmatory test kits today (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 on Saturday 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.

The city can now undertake more tests with the arrival of requested PCR machines, Magalong said.   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, the city started mass testing on April 4 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.

Artemio Dumlao