Early isolation, use of contact tracing app, and enforcement of localized protocols are among the measures that contributed to the reduction in the number of new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients in the city.
In the Laging Handa briefing on Monday, Mayor Alfred Romualdez said infected residents and their close contacts have been immediately isolated in hotels, preventing further spread of Covid-19.
“Hotel facilities are suitable to isolate individuals since they have separate rooms for each one. They have their own restroom, which is very critical,” Romualdez said.
The city government shoulders the hotel rent at a discounted rate. Some seven hotels have been identified as temporary isolation facilities.
Those close contacts found negative of the virus are released from hotel isolation while those who turn positive remain in the facility until their full recovery.
Meanwhile, the use of smartphone app since July has been helping the local government tracks down and alert contacts of people who got infected with the coronavirus.
Dubbed as the Tacloban Covid-19 Surveillance, Contact Tracing, Analysis and Networking (SCAN), the system is part of the Tacloban Safe City Program.
Online registrants got unique SCAN cards or QR codes that can be scanned as identification before entry at every participating office, establishment, or industry.
All establishments have been mandated to download the Tacloban Safe City app on a smartphone, tablet, or mobile device that has a camera and capable of reading or scanning a QR code.
The security guard or any authorized personnel assigned at the entrance, using the device, scans the QR code of each client entering the establishment to verify their identity.
“The application either prompts that the registered person is clear or alarm when a known Covid-19 positive, probable, or suspected person is about to enter, in which case, he or she be denied entry. The application will also log all entries of individuals, including the QR code, ID number, name of the establishment, and date and time of entry,” Romualdez said.
Another strategy is the localized protocols being implemented by community officials since some villages have unique situations.
“We allow our villages to establish a certain protocol in coordination with our nine health centers. They have been stepping the monitoring of returning residents, movement of residents, and isolate those with Covid-19 symptoms,” Romualdez said.
The transfer of thousands of families to relocation sites in northern villages after Super Typhoon Yolanda has helped stop the further spread of Covid-19 in the city’s highly-populated areas, according to the mayor.
From 106 new Covid-19 cases recorded between Sept. 7 to 12 in the city, the number went down to 65 from Sept. 13 to 19. As of Sept. 19, the city has already recorded 673 cases, including 503 recoveries, and 10 deaths. (PNA)