How Baguio, Laguna are coping with COVID-19 outbreak

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 26 2020 06:48 PM

MANILA - As the novel coronavirus continues to rage across the country, some areas in Luzon have sought best practices and adopted hi-tech ways to slow down the spread of the disease.

In northern Luzon, Baguio City is using an artificial-intelligence-powered CT scan analyzer to fast-track the screening of suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the AI COVID-19 analyzer, which was developed by Chinese tech giant Huawei, could help diagnose highly-suspicious coronavirus cases in few minutes.

"In a matter of 7 minutes, we'll be able to determine the results," he told ANC.

The results are not conclusive, but it will aid health workers in diagnosing possible COVID-19 cases by determining their viral load, Magalong added.

The city has also set up some 20 sanitation tents in different medical facilities, and reduced foot traffic in markets, which are known sites with the highest incidence of transmission, the mayor said.

To expedite the city's contact tracing system, Magalong said he also asked the expertise of police, aside from developing a database of patients and their contacts.

"What we're doing now is that each contact tracer is being assisted by police investigators," he said.

Faced with the potential influx of coronavirus cases in medical facilities, the city has also converted an unused private hospital into a treatment facility dedicated to COVID-19 cases.

The Sto. Niño Hospital, a 36-bed capacity medical facility along P. Burgos St., will be used as an exclusive critical care unit for coronavirus patients to free other hospitals from possible contamination risks, Magalong said.

Baguio City has so far tallied 4 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 1 death and 2 presumptive cases.

The city also has 287 patients under investigation (PUIs) who are undergoing home quarantine while 22 PUIs are admitted in the hospitals.

Some 1,531 persons under monitoring (PUMs) are also currently undergoing a 14-day quarantine.

In the south of Luzon, Laguna province has converted a sports complex into a health facility dedicated to treating possible COVID-19 cases.

Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez said he has also asked the help of barangay tanods to man checkpoints.

The province has also canceled its annual Anilag Festival as a precautionary measure. The festival, which celebrates Laguna's harvests, was scheduled from April 18 to 25.

The province has so far reported 15 coronavirus cases, 506 PUIs and 6,716 PUMs.