Flood-hit folk in Cagayan to undergo virus testing
TUGUEGARAO CITY—The Department of Health (DOH) will conduct a three-day mass testing for the coronavirus, targeting 3,500 villagers affected by the recent widespread flooding in Cagayan province.
Dr. Carlos Cortina III, provincial health officer, said the mass testing was necessary after thousands of residents stayed in evacuation centers at the height of the flooding on Nov. 14.
Cortina said the minimum health protocols had been overlooked at that time, which could have caused the surge in COVID-19 cases in the province.
Six new cases, including five in this city, were recorded on Nov. 22, in addition to the 26 registered in the aftermath of the severe floods.
As of Monday, 116 active cases, or over two-thirds, of Cagayan’s 159 cases had been reported, according to the provincial health office.
A 30-member team of health workers from the central office will conduct free swab testing among villagers. The team will also bring tents and equipment to speed up testing.
“The system is community-based so the health workers will be the ones going to the villages and evacuation centers,” said Assistant Health Secretary Charade Mercado Grande on Monday.
Gov. Manuel Mamba asked the DOH to give priority to policemen and village officials in the mass testing due to the nature of their jobs.
The growing number of cases was “alarming,” Mamba said, adding that the local transmission was noted when residents returned home after the floods subsided. —VILLAMOR VISAYA JR. INQ