Samar town wants mass testing to fight Covid-19 spread

TACLOBAN CITY – The local government of Tarangnan town in Samar province is pushing for mass testing to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the community.

In a social media post on Friday night, Mayor Arnel Tan said nobody would be spared from the disease if they do not change their present system of controlling its spread.

“We cannot expect to be saved from the disease if we are only waiting for newly infected patients. We need mass testing so health workers can focus on isolated patients,” Tan said.

His statement came after the Department of Health (DOH) announced five new Covid-19 cases in the town, bringing the total to 14.

Tan said it is difficult if a majority of the townspeople are infected.  “We cannot take care of them while waiting for other results. The system we have now is only applicable if we can switch people to sleep and wake them up when results are out,” he added.

The fourth-class town is the most affected in the region. Its patients are mostly health workers.

Tan heavily relies on village officials to respond to emergencies and battle the spread of the virus since several employees of the local government are under strict 14-day home quarantine.

The town had its first two confirmed cases on April 7, both personnel of the 10-bed Tarangnan Community Hospital who got the infection from their co-worker, a doctor from Calbayog City who had a travel history to Metro Manila.

On April 20, a kitchen staff of the hospital tested positive for the virus, the same day the two hospital staff members were discharged.

A week after, the DOH announced six new Covid-19 patients in Tarangnan, mostly health workers and neighbors of the town's first three infected persons, confirming the community transmission.

The local government has placed its 41 villages under total lockdown the next day, restricting the movement of residents out of their respective homes.

The patients are isolated in the town community hospital, but those who need further management are transferred to a higher facility.

The total number of confirmed infections in Eastern Visayas is 19. (PNA)


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