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Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano / Taguig PIO

Taguig reports good results from Covid-19 response

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Taguig City said its pro-active and aggressive response to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) yielded positive results, according to Mayor Lino Cayetano.

In a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF)-Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) at the Lakeshore Hotel Mega-Quarantine Facility, Cayetano presented data indicating that they have mounted an effective response against the disease.

“On September 1, the average number of active cases for the whole National Capital Region (NCR) was 898; Taguig City’s average was 591. In terms of active cases per 100,00 individuals, NCR was at 184 and Taguig at 60,” Cayetano said.

He also cited the city's September 6 tally which noted that of 5,469 confirmed Covid-19 cases since January 27, only 463 were active cases, even lower than the 591 average. Some 4,962 patients have recovered and 44 died.

From August 29 to September 4, the Covid-19 reproduction number or R0 (pronounced as R-naught) for NCR was at 0.94. Taguig, as of September 1, achieved 0.7005.

An R0 of less than one means each infected case causes less than one new infection.

Cayetano said the case doubling time is 19 days for Taguig and about 10 days for Metro Manila.
Doubling time represents the number of days it would take for the number of Covid-19 cases to double. A higher number indicates better results.

Cayetano said as of Tuesday, the city has posted a case fatality rate of 0.83 percent while the NCR has around 1.44 percent.

The case fatality rate is the incidence of deaths among Covid-19 cases. Meanwhile, the attack rate, which tracks the percentage of the population that gets infected, is 0.56 percent in Taguig and 0.95 percent in NCR.

“The Taguig leadership has ensured adherence to the test-trace-treat approach, beefing up our capabilities on all fronts. We have acted with urgency and innovated to cope with the challenges,” Cayetano said.

The CODE Team also turned over to the local government unit face masks under the national government's “Mask para sa Masa” program.

“Finally, we designed our Covid-19 response considering the participation of all levels of government, our communities, and even the private sector,” Cayetano said.

In a meeting at Bonifacio Global City on July 14, IATF leaders lauded Taguig’s Covid-19 response.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III called the city a “role model.” Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano even invited the mayor to speak about Taguig’s “successful experience” to other local government units.

At the time, Taguig had conducted 18,503 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests covering 1.87 percent of the population. Conducting 41,624 tests as of Sept. 8, the city is at 4.22 percent.

“We reached that percentage without our own laboratory. We are set to run a Covid-19 Laboratory, which can handle 600 cases a day,” Cayetano said.

The city estimates that the laboratory can turn up 100,000 results by December 31. The city would dramatically surpass the 10-percent mark which is the national government’s target by year’s end.

Already with five ways to get tested under the Systematic Mass Approach Responsible Testing (SMART) program (i.e., hospital testing, house-to-house testing, community-based testing through health centers, drive-thru testing, and testing at national facilities), the city will launch the Taguig Mobile Testing Centers.

Another first following the drive-thru testing, it will be a roving state-of-the-art, medically equipped vehicle which CEDSU can use to conduct PCR tests in different sites all over Taguig.

The all-of-government approach manifests in the contact-tracing effort. The 12 members of the City Epidemiology Disease Surveillance Unit (CEDSU), 33 Emergency Response for Notifiable and Emerging Diseases (ERNIE) teams (with 165 members), 31 Barangay Health Emergency Response teams (with 155 members), and 819 barangay health workers can all be mobilized to track patients.

Where case clusters are discovered, the CEDSU and ERNIE quickly decide if a granular or localized lockdown, another method lauded by IATF, should take place. Through this, the city quarantines the smallest area possible, such as homes or streets instead of puroks and barangays.

“The treatment is another crucial part of our high recovery rate and the low number of active cases. We can take care of our Covid-19 patients at the Taguig-Pateros District Hospital, and maintain a good relationship with public and private hospitals just in case we need to transfer patients,” Cayetano added.

The city currently has five quarantine facilities, including newly built structures and repurposed government buildings.

The Lakeshore Hotel Mega-Quarantine Facility will be able to accommodate up to 500 patients when it fully operates in three months. The structures ensure comfort for patients. They are complete with beds, partitions, air-conditioning, a bath, a toilet, and a living room.

"We assure our citizens that the good results only encourage us to further improve our systems and look for more areas to innovate. Our Covid-19 plans stretch up to December next year to make sure we will cover the needs of our citizens sufficiently post-pandemic. That means we have time to push the boundaries," he added.

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