Acting mayor ‘Baste’ orders mandatory swab testing of all ‘close contacts’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 8 April) – Acting mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte has ordered the “mandatory swab testing” of all close contacts, including the second and third generation contacts, of an index case as part of the city government’s recalibrated strategies to prevent and control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Acting Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte. Malacañang photo

In his Executive Order 20 released Thursday, Duterte said the mandatory testing of all close contacts is necessary amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other parts in the country where new mutated variants of the virus have emerged.

Duterte said that individuals are considered “first generation” close contacts or F1 when they come in direct contact with an active case, “second generation” or F2 are the persons who have direct contact with F1, and “third generation” or F3 are the close contacts of F2.

“There is a need to expand the testing beyond the F1 category as an attempt to control transmission of the virus,” he said.

Close contacts will be subjected to reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, which will be scheduled by the Contact Tracing Team or the District Health Office, the acting mayor said.

It can be recalled that Mayor Sara Duterte implemented the “surveillance swabbing” in high-risk areas and monitoring of individuals with influenza-like illnesses in communities. The lady mayor, who is in Singapore for “personal health management,” took a four-day leave from April 6 until April 10.

Local health authorities here have been directed to make regular schedule of surveillance swabbing in business and commercial establishments; public places, including, among others, wet markets, supermarkets, and stores; government offices; private offices and agencies; closed facilities such as Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bahay Pag-asa, Home for the Aged, and orphanage; and other barangays and areas deemed high risk by the City Health Office.

As of April 7, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 98 new cases, bringing the total cases to 21,976, with 813 active, 20,215 recoveries, and 948 deaths in the region.

Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 13,882 cases, with 297 active, 12,906 recoveries, and 679 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 1,407 cases, Davao del Norte with 3,638, Davao del Sur with 1,466, Davao Occidental with 220, and Davao Oriental with 1,363. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)