Benguet seeks NTF help to intensify COVID-19 testing

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Provincial Inter Agency Task Force will ask the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 to help boost its Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) strategy.

Governor Melchor Diclas said the molecular laboratory at the province-managed Benguet General Hospital (BeGH) currently processes about 500 swab samples daily.

“We need to do a more aggressive testing,” he said in a statement on Saturday, adding they are targeting big establishments, the vegetable trading post, Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center, and government offices.

Diclas said they will coordinate with the NTF so they can access the assistance of the Bases Conversion Development Authority that conducts tests.

“If we just say those at the market, for example, none of them will come for testing. So we need to pinpoint,” the governor said. “Nobody wants to be tested if they are asymptomatic because if found positive, that will mean stopping the daily routine of selling or reporting for work and it will be a burden on them to provide for their needs.”

He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development is ready to provide food packs to those who will be affected by lockdowns, quarantine, and isolation.

Benguet has 350 active Covid-19 cases as of June 4.

The planned testing is the province’s bid to be downgraded from the current modified enhanced community quarantine status, which surprised officials because of their low number of daily cases and low hospital care utilization rate.

“Several other factors were given as reason not just the statistics so we have to show that we are doing more than what we used to do so that our classification will be placed in a lower classification,” said Dr. Meliarazon Dulay, BeGH chief of hospital, in an interview.

Meanwhile, patients undergoing hemodialysis treatment in the province are appealing for their immediate inclusion in the vaccination program.

Dulay, also the Covid-19 point person of the province, said there is currently limited vaccine allocation.“Many wants to get it but we cannot just give it because of the priority restriction and the limited supply,” she said. (PNA)

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