TACLOBAN CITY – Subjecting all arriving locally stranded individuals (LSIs) to swab test is resource draining.
Instead these returning LSIs should be immediately isolated or quarantined by their respective local government units, Roderick Boyd Cerro, sentinel nurse and chief of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health(DOH-8), said.
The spike of coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19) cases of the region was largely attributed to the massive arrivals of the LSIs as well as those who have availed of the Balik Probinsiya program and returning overseas workers.
Of the 563 confirmed COVID-19 cases of the region, more than half of them were LSIs.
“We have sufficient evidence that these returning residents are infected. Testing them is resource draining. We need huge amount of resources if we will test them all,”Cerro said.
“These returning LSIs, upon their arrival, should be immediately quarantined for 14 days. We don’t need to test them, we’ll just consider them as infected. This way, our resources would not be exhausted and better used for testing for local transmission which is far more dangerous,” the health official added.
The return of the LSIs to Eastern Visayas was temporary halted by the government through a resolution of the National Inter-Agency on COVID-19. This after the region’s lawmakers and mayors, particularly from Leyte, seeking for a temporary stop of their return to their hometowns.
Mayors have also complained that their limited resources are also being drained with the return of these individuals as they have to maintain the quarantine facility and provide them their daily meals.
Cerro added that they already made an appeal to local officials to stop subjecting the returning residents for RT-PCR test but instead immediately isolate them in a facility for 14 days.
As of Friday, the region has about 563 COVID-19 cases.