FOLLOWING the deferment of the proposed ordinance penalizing individuals tagged as closed contacts who will not submit themselves for Covid-19 testing, a Davao City councilor said the city will shift its focus to swabbing the first generation (F1) contacts.
The ordinance was supposed to be passed on third and final reading on June 29, but the Davao City Covid-19 Task Force requested for its deferment.
The ordinance was reverted to committee hearing.
During a presentation made by City Health Office (CHO) Acting Head Dr. Ashley Lopez, Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, committee chairperson on health, said there is a need to focus on F1.
“Na-discuss ni Doc Ashley sa Covid-19 Task Force nga murag kinahanglan mututok mi more on F1, ‘yung close contacts ng ating index case. Tukion pa [ug] gibalik sa committee level. (Doc Ashley discussed with the Covid-19 Task Force that there might be a need to strategize and focus more on the F1, those close contacts with the index case. It will be studied further and is being reverted to committee level.) But definitely, ipadayon ni (the ordinance will push through),” Villafuerte said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio on Wednesday morning, July 7.
According to Lopez, the councilor revealed that only 50 percent of those tagged as F1 submitted themselves for testing.
The report also stated that more than 50 percent of those swabbed F1s tested positive for coronavirus, while only two to three percent of the swabbed second and third-generation (F2 and F3) contacts tested positive.
“Ang suggestion ngayon ni Dr. Ashley Lopez, gawin nating 100 percent na ma-swab talaga lahat ng F1 kay didto taas ang naga-positive (Dr. Lopez suggested that we have to make sure that all F1 will be swabbed because they have the most number of yield positive cases),” she said.
She added, “Because na-spread out ang ating efforts nga pangitaon ang F2, F3, i-swab pud sila, nag-lessen ‘yung effort natin na pangitaon ang F1. Diha nakit-an nga murag naa tay gap. (Because our efforts have spread out to find the F2 and F3 and swab them, that it had lessen our efforts in finding the F1s).”
Villafuerte said the Council is finetuning the ordinance so they can improve the City’s contact tracing efforts.
The item, “An Ordinance Providing for Mandatory Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Testing Of All F1, F2, And F3 Contacts of an RT-PCR Confirmed Positive Case Of Covid-19 In Davao City,” was authored by Councilor Mabel Acosta.
Acosta, chairperson of the committee on peace and public safety and on special publications, said in a radio interview that among the provisions of the proposed ordinance is that violators will not be issued with any warning but a citation ticket if he or she will not comply with the mandatory swabbing.
Acosta said the ordinance applies to F0 (confirmed positive), F1 (first-generation contact or those who have close contact with a confirmed positive individual), F2 (second-generation contact or those who have close contact with F1), and F3 (third-generation contact or those who have close contact with F2).
The proposed ordinance, requiring identified contacts to undergo mandatory swab testing and/or mandatory isolation and quarantine, was in accordance with Executive Order (EO) 20, “An Order Providing for Mandatory Swabbing of All F1, F2, And F3 Contacts of an RT-PCR [Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction] Confirmed Positive Case of Covid-19 in Davao City.”
Lopez said in a previous interview that the city will still pursue the proposed measure.
The CHO head admitted receiving negative feedback regarding the proposed ordinance, but he is still defending its passage, saying this is part of the city’s measures to control the spread of the virus.
He, however, said the Task Force is considering the recommendation to lift the mandatory swabbing for F2 and F3.
This was in response to some of the public’s clamor, including some medical experts, who raised their concerns on the city’s expanded contact tracing and swabbing in relation to the overwhelming influx of individuals at the city’s swabbing center.