Valenzuela COVID-19 cases increasing because more being tested, mayor says
( - May 25, 2020 - 11:25am

MANILA, Philippines — Valenzuela City is entering an artificial increase stage in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, its mayor said Monday. 

According to Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, the city's consultant epidemiologist coined the term as the Valenzuela pushes to test its most vulnerable, including OFWs, frontliners and others.

Amid calls for comprehensive mass testing paired with contact tracing, Valenzuela is among the local government units practicing localized mass testing — the term that the Palace and government officials claim means testing everybody — having recently wrapped up its testing of all its suspect and probable cases. 

"This is the stage where we have surges in our positive numbers because we are massively testing all our frontliners," Gatchalian said in a tweet. 

"We need to do this in order to be able to quarantine our carriers right before the [general community quarantine] period, and also so that we can [get them] the attention that they need," he added. 

Gatchalian also reminded the public to remain vigilant by practicing social distancing, wearing masks and practicing hand hygiene. 

On a wider scale, the Palace has admitted that no plans for nationwide mass testing were in place and that they were leaving such an initiative to the private sector.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier this week claimed that the country was flattening the curve and facing the second wave of cases, both claims he later walked back after receiving criticism due to the lack of testing efforts needed to reach such a conclusion. 

The number of active COVID-19 cases in the Philippines stands at 9,918 as of the health department's latest tally Sunday afternoon.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian earlier disclosed that at least 10 frontliners in Valenzuela City tested positive for the new pathogen. 

About one in five of every positive coronavirus case is a frontline health worker, the department's data says.

"In a couple of days we should be over this hump when we're done testing all our medical and none-medical frontline people," the Valenzuela city mayor said. — Franco Luna

If you believe you have come into possible contact with infected patients, you may be directed to the proper office of the Department of Health for advice through the following lines: (632) 8651-7800 local 1149/1150 or (632) 165-364.

You may also opt to call the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine at (02) 8807-2631/ 8807-2632/ 8807-2637. The general public has also been encouraged to forward its concerns to the Health Department's dedicated 24/7 COVID-19 hotlines (02) 894-COVID and 1555 (free for all subscribers).

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