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Koronadal probes ‘exponential’ surge in COVID-19 cases

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews) – The city government has expanded its testing and contact tracing activities to curb the “exponential” increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the area in the past several weeks.

City Mayor Eliordo Ogena said Friday they deployed additional contact tracing teams to capture and properly isolate infected patients and eventually prevent further transmission in communities and even households.

He said the City Health Office (CHO) is currently conducting daily swab collection for suspected patients, previously done only thrice every week, to maximize the tracking of cases.

On Thursday alone, CHO swabbed at least 70 individuals for Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing.

After posting no new cases on Wednesday, the Department of Health-Region 12 recorded 40 additional infections in the city as of 6 p.m. Thursday, bringing the active cases in the area to 226, one of the highest since last year.

The confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city have already reached a total of 1,164, with 23 related deaths and 915 recoveries.

Ogena said the expanded testing strategy complements the ongoing implementation of stricter community quarantine measures in the affected communities, especially in two of the city’s biggest barangays.

Barangays Sta. Cruz and Gen. Paulino Santos are under modified enhanced community quarantine until May 14 due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

“We expect and are already anticipating the positive cases to further increase in the coming days so we’re also preparing additional isolation centers,” he said in his weekly radio program “Tingog sang Pagsanyog.”

The mayor said they designated a portion of the Marbel-1 Central Elementary School, one of the biggest public schools in the city, as expansion isolation facility.

He said the local government could later tap hotels in the city as isolation centers once the existing facilities are filled up.

Ogena said he directed the city police to enforce the minimum health protocols in public places as well as the mandatory curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

He said over 100 arrests have been made in the past several days, with the violators issued with warnings and subjected to lectures on the COVID-19 protocols.

“If this is the only way for people to understand our situation, then we will (continue to) do it,” he said. (MindaNews)

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