Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino on Monday said the key to successful containment of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Western Visayas is improved testing capacity and contact tracing.
The Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) is ensuring that the provinces in Region 6 will have enough testing kits and machines, as well as strengthened contact tracing capability to prevent further spread of Covid-19, Dino said in a statement.
The OPAV, according to him, brought Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas chief pathologist, Mary Jean Loreche, and chief medical technologist Prince Balaba to Western Visayas’ laboratories and made “recommendations on how to increase swab sample processing”.
In the meantime, 3,000 specimens were sent to Cebu for faster processing and address the backlog in the release of test results in that region now that the DOH-7 Cebu Molecular Laboratory is capable of processing more swab samples due to decreasing cases in Cebu.
He said OPAV has just completed the four-week visits to all six provinces of Western Visayas: Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Guimaras.
The office personally delivered sets of personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, alcohol, and medicines to the six provinces for the protection of their front-liners.
Dino visited the region to meet with local chief executives in the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo and the provinces of Negros Occidental and Iloilo and discussed possible solutions to the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
This was in response to a request from Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia to help them address the contagion in the city.
He also received instructions from President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go to assist the said region in its fight against the dreaded virus.
“Bacolod is part of my area of responsibility. The role of OPAV is to lower the response time between Malacañang and the Visayas,” Dino said. “If you notice, pa’g may sulat si Mayor Bing, mag-uusap kami ng gabi, the following day, nagpadala agad kami ng tao (if Mayor Bing Leonardia writes a letter, we talk by night, and the following day, we would be able to send someone) through the help of the President and Senator Bong Go”.
The meetings with Leonardia, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, and Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, assessed the needs, challenges, and gaps in the anti-Covid-19 efforts in those areas, he said. (PNA)