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Davao intensifies contact tracing 

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The Davao City Health Office (CHO) is intensifying its contact tracing as a measure to detect untested individuals who had close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 positive patient, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

CHO Acting Head Dr. Ashley Lopez said in a radio interview that the city has already implemented the expanded mandatory testing of all close contacts at all levels.

He said this was discussed and approved by the Davao City Covid-19 Task Force, headed by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

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"When you say all levels, tanang (it refers to all) possible close contacts, not only direct contacts like F1, but it also involves mga second and third-generation contacts," Lopez said.

F1 are close contacts of existing positive patients, while those close contacts of F1 are tagged as F2 or second-generation contact, and the F3 or third-generation contacts are those who have close contact with F2.

"Every possible way nga pwedeng makatakod (that can infect) or any contacts with an index case or Covid positive case, ato na siyang i-trace (we will trace them), so we could test them," he said.

Lopez said the recently reported cases were only based on the results coming from the city's testing center.

"Kanang mga reported cases nga akong ginapahibalo (All our reported cases), we are only relying on the positive results that we get from our testing centers. Pero sa likod ana, naa pa tay mga untraced... missed cases nga nagsuroy-suroy sa mga panimalay nga wala pa na-test (But behind it all, there are still those who were not traced and not tested and are currently going around different places)," the health official said.

As much as possible, the official said there is a need to detect and immediately isolate those with Covid-19 to prevent others from being infected.

Lopez said with the expanded testing being conducted, this would provide them a more accurate Covid-19 situation of the city.

"We have to hunt every possible Covid suspects we could get, so that eventually gawas sa mapugngan unta (aside from curbing the transmission), with all the prayers, mapugngan nato ang pagsulod sa (we could also prevent the entry of the) new variant sa Covid diria sa (here in) Davao [City]," the CHO head said.

Lopez said in a previous report that the city will continue to intensify its monitoring in the communities to determine if there is still transmission.

This despite the city recorded a downtrend in Covid-19 cases and even recording zero cases on March 22.

Duterte-Carpio recently issued Executive Order (EO) 18, which orders for the "heightened surveillance and response" for Covid-19 cases in the city.

The EO said the city will intensify its monitoring within communities for those with influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms.

Those experiencing ILI symptoms or who have close contact with them are advised to go to their nearest district health offices.

Duterte-Carpio said there is a need to "recalibrate strategies to prevent and control Covid-19 transmission" in the city due to the surge of cases in Metro Manila and other areas in the country, and the emergence of new Covid-19 variants.

The mayor also said the city will also increase its Covid-19 testing capacity to at least about 1,000 specimens a day.

She said the city's health response clusters were instructed to increase their testing quantity from the average 400 to 700 tests per day.


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