Galvez wants mass testing in Batangas

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    NATIONAL Task Force Against Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. called for mass testing in Batangas province, which is currently under the general community quarantine (GCQ), over the possibility of some 12,000 suspected infections.

    Galvez, during the visit of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team in Batangas City, expressed alarm over a report by the Batangas provincial health office that 2,004 or close to 77 percent of 2,612 active cases in the province are observing quarantine at home.

    “Medyo na-alarma lang po ako na out of that 2,612 (active cases) ay 2,004 ang naka-home quarantine,” he said, explaining that one positive patient has a potential to transmit the virus to members of their families and their community.

    The government is eyeing to trace at least 37 close contacts for every one infected patients.

    “Kailangang magkaroon ng massive test dahil nakikita po natin na meron dito na more than 12,000 suspected cases. Para ma-isolate kaya kailangan test agad. Para ma-isolate agad kung sino ang na-positive (We need to have massive test because we foresee more than 12,000 suspected cases. So we can isolate immediately that’s why we need to test them.

    So we can isolate those who are positive),” he said.

    Galvez said the Inter-agency Task Force on Management of Infection Diseases (IATF), during its meeting on Tuesday, had a long debate about the observance of home quarantine and will soon come up with a resolution restricting home quarantines, especially in provinces.

    He said the IATF advocates isolating mild and asymptomatic patients in quarantine facilities and hotels to receive proper treatment.

    Galvez said that based on their experience in some provinces that logged high number of COVID-19 cases such as Cebu and Laguna, many of the transmissions happened because the infected people opted to stay at home or in their community and fail to observe minimum health protocols like wearing of face masks, face shields and observing physical distancing.

    He said this is the reason why about 60 percent of patients have died upon arrival at hospitals.