Contact tracing in Sta. Barbara case a big challenge: PHO

THE contact-tracing for the sudden surge of COVID-19 infection in Sta. Barbara is posing a big challenge to the Provincial Health Office.

This sentiment was expressed by Dr. Anna Teresa de Guzman, provincial health officer, after the town became the epicenter of COVID-19 in Pangasinan overnight.

She said it is a real challenge to conduct contact tracing for all the persons who had direct contact with the positive cases.

As of October 7, Sta. Barbara already logged 94 active cases – 91 of whom are employees of a plant based in the town – in addition to the 113 confirmed cases last Saturday.

She said based on Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong’s formula, where a positive case could have had 40 direct contacts, the situation calls for tracing more than 3,000 contacts.

Meanwhile, seven barangays in Sta. Barbara have been placed under lockdown: Tebag West, Matic-matic, Leet, Minien West, Banaoang, Ventenilla, and Cablong. All are considered as critical zones.

De Guzman said the plant’s company, San Miguel Corporation, is assisting in the distribution of food and medicines in locked down areas. The company also brought some of its patients to its foundation hotel for quarantine.

De Guzman said while the Sta. Barbara government has an identified isolation area where patients are properly distanced, the PHO found out that some patients were crammed in some tents.

The PHO has emphasized to that a 1:1 ratio between patient and room or cubicle is required, and must have its own comfort room.

She admitted finding an isolation area for the local government is a challenge because most patients from Sta. Barbara would not be admitted in other towns for isolation. (Ahikam Pasion/Jerick Pasiliao)

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