Ed: City doing well in mass testing
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - May 23, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu City may have fallen short of the number of participants in the targeted mass testing but Mayor Edgardo Labella assured that the city is doing its duty in combatting the coronavirus disease.

The mass testing in Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Lapu-Lapu City ended on Wednesday with Cebu City testing 15,012 residents or 85.61 percent of the total target, which was 17,536 residents.

"Maybe because people in Cebu City believe that they had submitted to the more accurate and more scientific testing method," Labella said.

Cebu City, by itself, conducted more than 10,000 swab tests using PCR because "we have the capability."

In the mass testing in the three cities, rapid testing kits were used. The mass testing was also voluntary.

Also, despite the number of cases in the city, totaling 1,844 as of May 22, Labella said the low mortality rate is worth noting.

"We had conducted a very aggressive testing, contact tracing, and isolation. This is the reason why among all the local government units in the country, we have the least mortality," Labella said.

He added:

"I just would like to underscore the fact that DOH categorized Cebu City in the fight against coronavirus as the 'gold standard'.”

"Because at the earliest opportunity, we already conducted a more scientific data-based strategic swab testing using the PCR machine which has been considered by DOH as more effective, more accurate than rapid testing," he said.

Survey

Labella said the mass testing is only a survey, and rapid testing is more of a survey while swab testing is more of identification.

In Cebu City, 95 percent of the COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic. Labella said the patients were immediately isolated to prevent contamination.

The strategic mass testing is part of Project Balik Buhay (PBB), which is spearheaded by the Office of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas and the Department of Health.

OPAV Secretary Michael Dino has said the mass testing still achieved its desired target overall, running a total of 45,905 tests or 15.79 percent more than what was envisioned.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, chief pathologist of DOH-7, also said earlier that the rapid anti body test is not used for diagnostic purposes but for surveillance.

Labella said the fewer cases recorded in recent days can be attributed to the intervention of the City Health Office.

This is also due to the "effective isolation" of the patients, he said. JMO (FREEMAN)

MASS TESTING
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