As the country is confronted with the surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, the government has focused its efforts on testing, tracing and treating people with the illness. There is no problem with the test because the government has opened various testing centers all over the country with the assistance of private laboratories. Some local government units have acquired testing machines, conducted either rapid anti-body tests or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests. Tests are offered for free.
The contact-tracing capability of the government has been strengthened by hiring contract tracers to track down those with potential infections. Police personnel will join the hired contact tracers to conduct a house-to-house campaign and convince those infected individuals to voluntarily isolate themselves. But the police made it clear that the operation is not like the “tokhang,” or the visitation of alleged drug personalities to persuade them to stop their illegal activities and submit themselves to the government for their recovery.
Police will just escort hired contact tracers in interviewing suspected virus carriers.
With the massive tests and contact tracing, how will the government handle the increasing number of positive cases? Government and private hospitals are already overwhelmed. You cannot seek immediate hospital admission nowadays even for non-Covid patients. Do we have enough isolation facilities? No. Our barangay isolation centers (BIC) will have to close by the end of this month because the Department of Education will use the schools when classes open on Aug. 24. Besides, some schools are not ideal to be BICs because some are located in densely populated areas which have been suspected of being the source of community transmission. Covid-19 overseer Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu want these centers transferred.
Can Cebu City’s quarantine facilities house all the Covid-19 patients? I doubt it, especially since home quarantine has been discouraged.
Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar bared plans to construct more isolation centers in areas hardest hit by the virus like Cebu City, but what we need is an immediate solution. If we cannot provide adequate isolation centers, we might as well suspend testing and tracing patients.
Health officials have admitted that many Covid-19 patients remain undetected and continue to roam the streets. This, despite the hard lockdown imposed by authorities in areas where the number of cases is high. What has the government done to them? Nothing.
That is the reason positive cases are increasing daily.
There have been several complaints raised by some patients about their condition in various isolation centers. It’s a total mess, they said. Standards are not met. Some claimed that when they were admitted, they were asymptomatic. When they left, they acquired more severe symptoms.