CEBU City’s Covid-19 cases dropped to less than 200 this week as its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to implement measures such as speedy contact tracing and aggressive testing.
Cebu City cases have been hovering at over 200 daily. According to the Department of Health Region 7 (DOH-7) report, there are 172 new cases in Cebu City as of August 29, 2021 and 115 new cases as of August 30, 2021. The number of cases started to drop to below 300 starting August 21.
By implementing these measures and others, Cebu City was able to slowly bring down cases, which had reached over 400 in early August 2021, explained Councilor Joel Garganera, head of Cebu City Emergency Operations Center.
Garganera stressed that with a turnaround time of 24 hours, the EOC could immediately conduct contact tracing of index cases.
He explained that the contact tracing team has swabbers who take samples of household members and other first generation contacts of index cases. For second generation contacts, they will test only those experiencing symptoms.
EOC has divided Cebu City into five areas – north, south, east, west and central. Contact tracing teams are stationed in the strategic areas so that they could immediately do contact tracing after receiving the list of positive individuals.
“Dali ra atong intervention kay matest naman sila (Our intervention is faster because they can be tested),” Garganera stressed.
He explained that testing can help bring down cases because they immediately isolate the homes of the positive cases or bring them to a barangay isolation facility.
In areas where there are clusters of cases, EOC will immediately isolate the houses of positive individuals.
During a recent meeting, DOH-7 chief pathologist Dr. Mary Jean Loreche urged local governments units to test all contacts of index cases immediately so they could implement immediate containment measures.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche explained that with aggressive testing, LGUs will experience a peak of positive cases. However, the positive cases would start to go down after LGUs isolate these cases to prevent further transmission.
“The reason why there are lots of community deaths (in other areas in Cebu) is because there is no aggressive contact tracing and testing,” Garganera said.
Retired Gen. Melquiades Feliciano, IATF Visayas chief implementer, had also urged LGUs to conduct contact tracing and testing of first generation contacts.
Feliciano urged LGUs to focus on areas where there is breach of protocol based on the data gathered from positive cases. “Close contacts must be traced and tested within 24 hours,” he added.
According to Garganera, he meets with various concerned sectors to discuss the implementation of health protocols. He added that cooperation of the barangays, police and other sectors is key in the fight against Covid-19.
The enforcement of health protocols also helped create awareness in the community.
Those who violate health protocols are brought to the nearest holding area. These are located in gymnasiums in Barangays Cogon Ramos and Labangon that are manned by Probe. On the other hand, minors are brought to San Roque gymnasium, which is manned by the Department of Social Welfare and Services.
Cebu City has seven hotels that are manned by nurses from Cebu City health office.
These facilities serve as a step down facility for those admitted in hospitals who could not and as holding areas for individuals who are waiting to be admitted in hospitals.
Gen. Feliciano also urged LGUs to adopt best practices implemented in the tri-cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu and other LGUs to contain the spread of COVID-19. (PR)