The Sarangani provincial government is working on the immediate activation of localized cluster contact tracing teams amid the rising cases of suspected locally transmitted coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection in the neighboring areas.

Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon said he directed the province’s seven municipalities to create at least eight contact tracing teams each and implement suitable tracking systems.

Solon said these will be deployed in local government unit (LGU)-assigned clusters and will operate in coordination with the provincial government’s contact tracing team.

“Each team will have assigned nurses and police personnel.”

Each team will have assigned nurses and police personnel who will function as interviewers, encoders, at least two members of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and assisted by Barangay Task Force members, the governor said.

He said the teams may be assigned to augment the requirements of other clusters during the contact tracing, subject to guidelines.

The provincial contact tracing unit will assist the cluster teams as needed and consolidate the best practices of LGUs to establish unified and systematic tracking, including communication protocols, Solon said.

The creation and activation of the teams was part of the enhanced measures against COVID-19 adopted by the provincial government through Executive Order (EO) No. 27 issued by Solon.

He said the move was aimed to help sustain the province’s “local transmission-free” status for COVID-19.

As of August 25, the province’s confirmed COVID-19 cases already reached a total of 73, with 16 active and 57 recoveries.

“These are imported cases that were detected among our returning locally stranded individuals and overseas Filipino workers who were isolated and quarantined appropriately,” Solon noted.

Suspected cases of COVID-19 local transmission have been reported in the past several weeks in parts of the city, Cotabato City, and the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, and North Cotabato.

Davao Region, especially Davao City, had long been reported to have cases of COVID-19 community transmission.

Aside from the creation of the municipal cluster teams, he ordered the restriction of non-essential travels into the province, and this will be strictly enforced in all its border checkpoints.

Under EO 27, essential workers coming in from the National Capital Region, Davao, Cebu and other areas with Covid-19 local transmission within and outside Region 12 (Soccsksargen) are required to present negative Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction test results that were issued at least 72 hours before arrival.

The workers should have been subjected to home quarantine after the swab collection and companies employing them should coordinate the matter with local health offices and incident command centers.

“All residents should comply with the necessary health standards.”

Solon said all residents should comply with the necessary health standards such as the wearing of face masks and face shields, and observance of safe physical distancing.

He said persons below 21-years-old and above 60-years-old or those considered at high risk of contracting COVID-19 are required to stay home. 


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