AMID concerns on a possible sudden spike in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases after Cebu City was placed on general community quarantine, the City Health Department assured that there is no scarcity of test kits, both for swab and rapid diagnostic testing.
City Health Department officer-in-charge Dr. Jeffrey Ibones said the health office still has around 38,000 rapid diagnostic test kits.
He said the test kits for swabbing are replenished every time the city health personnel submit swab samples to the Department of Health (DOH) 7 Cebu TB Reference Laboratory and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) sub-national laboratory.
From Aug. 1 to Aug. 15, 2020, Cebu City is on general community quarantine status, which is less stringent than the enhanced community quarantine status and its modified version. Public transport and movement, and the operation of government offices and selected businesses are allowed on a reduced capacity.
Ibones said they are following the new protocol set by the DOH: There is no need for a Covid-19 patient to undergo a second round of swab test as long as the patient is considered clinically recovered.
Ibones said this new DOH guideline could be applied to Covid-19 patients staying in barangay isolation centers who are asymptomatic. However, Ibones said they still have to rely on health experts’ assessments on this matter.
Ibones said they have enough supply of rapid diagnostic test kits and these might be used for the planned mass testing at the Carbon Public Market.
The Cebu City Hall earlier said swab test kits would be used in getting samples from Carbon market vendors. But City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of Emergency Operations Center in Cebu City, clarified that rapid diagnostic test kits will be used instead, considering the number of vendors in the market. Carbon Market has about 4,000 stall owners excluding their helpers.
Garganera said the City is already burdened, especially now that it has intensified its conduct of contact tracing.
Ibones replaced former City Health Officer Dr. Daisy Villa on Thursday, July 30, 2020.
Mayor Edgardo Labella said there must be a movement of department heads, adding that almost all departments have new heads after one year in office.
Villa said in a text message that she is now assigned at the New Normal Oasis for Adaptation and a Home (Noah), a quarantine facility for Covid-19 asymptomatic patients at the South Road Properties.
Labella said someone should focus on managing the Covid-19 patients at Noah, and he finds Villa fit for the position.
Ibones was the former head of the Department of Social Welfare and Services. (JJL)