Butuan City to establish testing lab, gears up health facilities for COVID-19

BUTUAN CITY, May 11 (PIA) – The city government of Butuan gears up interventions to curb the transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Caraga region.

To assess the region-wide status of the pandemic, the city has provided test kits for the antibody test to the region’s provinces. City Mayor Ronnie Lagnada stated that despite the limited number of test kits, suspected cases continues to be detected across the region thus the need to equip each province tools for earlier detection.

The city is also pushing for the establishment of a reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing laboratory in the city in order to hasten the production of test results which is needed for contact tracing.

“Our primary goal is to contain the spread of the disease. By providing test kits to our regional counterparts, detection can be done effectively. A testing laboratory that is accessible in the region will greatly improve the overall response of health authorities in this pandemic,” the mayor added.

Caraga region continues to send samples to Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City for the said confirmatory test.

The Department of Health (DOH) Caraga has teamed up with the city government on the endeavour.

Butuan city government is also continuously working on improving and adding isolation facilities in the city. In addition to the isolation facilities in Butuan Medical Center (BMC) and in Brgy. Baan Km. 3, select buildings in Butuan Central Elementary School (BCES), a local public school, will also be converted to an isolation facility for suspected cases exhibiting mild or no visible symptoms.

Yesterday, the city was able to procure personal protective equipment (PPEs) and additional equipment for the medical facilities for COVID-19 in the city. In a post made the Butuan City Public Information Office, the City Procurement Office reports that 10,000 pieces of non-medical suits, 4,000 pieces of medical suits, 10,000 goggles, 75,000 N95 masks, 500,000 standard face masks, 75 non-invasive ventilators, and 5 invasive ventilators were acquired.

Meanwhile, Mayor Lagnada earnestly reminded Butuanons residing in barangays in the city that are under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) to continue to abide the precautionary measures amid easement of restrictions. Only go out when there is a need to purchase basic necessities.

“There are only certain regulations that differ between ECQ and GCQ. Nonetheless, you are all advised to continue precaution especially since the majority of the city remains under strict monitoring,” he said.

Earlier this month, the National Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) has rejected the request of the city to extend the implementation of ECQ in the entire city. Nonetheless, the city has pushed through with the extension, placing 50 of its 86 barangays are still under ECQ while barangays situated in the outskirts have been placed under GCQ. 

The implementation of ECQ in the city is expected to end on May 15. (DMR/PIACaraga)

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