A 68-year-old male evacuee in Marikina City has tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said Thursday, as thousands still remain at the city’s evacuation centers following the onslaught of typhoon “Ulysses.”
To prevent the spread of the disease among evacuees, the Marikina City government has already conducted rapid testing at the city’s evacuation centers.
“We have detected a positive case at Barangka Elementary School. He is 68 years old and has comorbidities, that’s why we acted immediately to isolate the patient and provide the medical supportive treatment needed for his immediate recovery,” Teodoro said.
He is now under quarantine and receiving treatment for his fast recovery.
According to Teodoro, all members of the patient’s family as well as the 13 people he had close contact with have all tested negative for COVID-19 in the swab testing.
The mayor explained that the local government employed the strategy of prioritizing immuno-compromised evacuees, vulnerable individuals such as elderlies, and those with COVID-like symptoms in the surveillance testing.
“For practical intent and purposes, we first tested those with COVID-like symptoms. They are the ones who should be looked at immediately, the symptomatic ones,” he said.
The city government has set up rapid testing centers in evacuation sites to test evacuees who have fled their homes following the recent typhoon.
“We will do this [rapid testing] in all our evacuation centers simultaneously and on a regular basis,” Teodoro said, adding that the local government has already ordered for additional rapid test kits.
Some 190 contact tracers have already been deployed to evacuation centers to boost the contact tracing efforts of the local government.
Teodoro said there are currently over 15,000 individuals staying at the city’s evacuation sites.
“Our priority is to quickly recover from the effects of the typhoon. But we don’t want that while we are recovering, we are also facing COVID,” he said.
Should an evacuee test “reactive” in the rapid testing, Teodoro said ambulances on standby will rush them to the city’s swab testing center located at the Marikina Convention Center for their confirmatory test.
While waiting for the test results, patients will already be in quarantine. If they test positive for the disease, patients will continue being isolated for 14 days and the receive the treatment.
Contact tracing will be also done to determine individuals who made close contact with those infected with COVID-19.
As of November 18, Teodoro said Marikina City has 183 active cases of COVID-19.