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Aggressive community testing | Over 3,000 close contacts swabbed for virus in Davao Region




DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) – Health authorities had swabbed a total of 3,430 persons who had close contacts with COVID-19 patients as of the third day of the four-day “aggressive community testing” (ACT) in Davao Region, a strategy that aims to improve the detection of the virus.

Dr. Cleo Fe Tabada, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of Department of Health (DOH)-Davao, said during a virtual press conference on Friday that the testing covered Davao City, Samal Island, Panabo City, Tagum City, Kapalong town in Davao del Norte, Digos City and Santa Cruz town in Davao del Sur, she said.

Tabada said ACT had been completed in Davao City from Dec. 1-3 but was still ongoing in other parts of the region.

She said local authorities hoped to finish the activity on December 4.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte reverted the quarantine classification of Davao City and Davao del Norte to general community quarantine (GCQ) from modified GCQ effective November 20 and December 1, respectively, until the end of December.

Of the 3,430 persons swabbed, Tabada said 1,488 came from Davao City, 1,627 from Davao del Norte, and 315 from Davao del Sur.

ACT had planned to test 10,000 close contacts.

Tabada explained the lower number of tests was due to the fact that many of the target close contacts had already undergone testing.

“When they (the national team) came, they said we will test this group of people and based on that computed target, it was 10,000. (But) LGUs (local government units) have already been continually testing, collecting specimens on a day-to-day basis… so, most of those 10,000 have been tested already,” she said.

Instead of sending test samples to Cebu, Tabada said these will be processed at the COVID-19 laboratory of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in the city “due to technical issues.”

She said the results of ACT have yet to be released.

“ACT is being helped by volunteers from NCR (National Capital Region) and other regions. Of course, the national team of ACT is also here to help us out. This is being done by LGUs and their swabbers, volunteers from BFP,” she said.

Dr. Ricardo Audan, officer-in-charge of SPMC, said the hospital could process a maximum of 3,000 specimens daily with the arrival of its six medical technologists from Cebu, increasing the number of its COVID-19 laboratory personnel to 14.

As of Dec. 3, Davao City reported a total of 6,754 cases, Davao de Oro 459, Davao del Norte 1,083, Davao del Sur 707, Davao Occidental 118 and Davao Oriental 450.

The entire region has 2,755 active cases, 6,443 recoveries and 373 deaths.

Of the 6,754 cases in Davao City, 2,256 are active, 4,195 have recovered, and 303 died. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)

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