Davao City to establish drive-through COVID-19 swab testing area

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 April) – The City Government of Davao will soon establish a drive-through swabbing area at the Davao Crocodile Park to cater to drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) as local health authorities continue to expand testing capacity in the hopes of detecting more actives cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a health official said.

“Community surveillance swab testing” in Davao City. MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Dr. Ashley Lopez, acting head of the City Health Office (CHO), said in his program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) Wednesday that the structural plan of the testing area has been completed while the traffic plan is being threshed out in preparation for the implementation of the drive-through testing area.

The proposed testing area is part of the intensified “community surveillance swabbing” of the local government, Lopez said.

Last March 26, Mayor Sara Duterte issued Executive Order 18, ordering community surveillance swabbing and monitoring of persons suffering from influenza-like illness (ILI) like cough, fever, and colds in the communities.

Under her order, health authorities 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 CHO.

After the PUV drivers, Lopez said that riders of food delivery companies would also be asked to undergo mandatory swabbing.

He added that the local government would also open more swabbing areas at the Magsaysay Park and People’s Park.

Mayor Sara Duterte is expected to issue an executive order for the mandatory swab testing of all PUV drivers in coordination with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), according to Lopez.

He added that surveillance swabbing would also cover business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, banks, government institutions, and churches and seminaries.

Under Executive Order 20, the local government ordered “mandatory swab testing” of all close contacts, including the second and third generation contacts, of an index case.

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.

As of April 20, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 38 new cases, bringing the total cases to 22,810, with 890 active, 20,949 recoveries, and 971 deaths in the region.

Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 14,284 cases, with 400 active, 13,200 recoveries, and 684 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 1,470 cases, Davao del Norte with 3,899, Davao del Sur with 1,528, Davao Occidental with 224, and Davao Oriental with 1,405. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)