BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 24 (PIA) - - The Cordillera Regional Task Force COVID - 19 harmonizes response actions to the recent surge in cases in the region and the Health Department's confirmation of the new UK variant particularly in Bontoc, Mountain Province and La Trinidad Benguet.
The RTF chairperson and Office of Civil Defense - CAR Regional Director Albert Mogol convened a special meeting on Saturday (Jan. 23) to look into the regional COVID - 19 situation and to get updates from the different provincial and city local government units and local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) councils, so that the RTF member agencies can provide immediately the needed support and response actions.
DOH - CAR Regional Director Ruby Constantino reported that CAR is currently under "high risk" epidemic level, with the provinces of Kalinga and Mountain Province under "Critical level" with the upsurge of cases in recent week.
She also echoed the DOH's announcement Friday night of 16 new COVID-19 UK variant cases in the country as confirmed by the Philippine Genome Center. Of the 16, 12 cases are in Bontoc, Mountain Province and one case in La Trindad, Benguet.
In response to the UK variant cases in Cordillera, Constantino reported that DOH contact tracing teams from DOH - CAR and Regions 1, 2 and 3 are set to augment the contact tracing team in Mountain Province.
Baguio City Mayor and Contact Tracing Czar Benjamin Magalong also committed to help La Trinidad for the contact tracing of the case in the municipality.
Department of Interior and Local Government Regional Director Marlo Iringan said they will fast-track the immediate deployment of contact tracing teams in affected communities. 267 contact traces will be initially deployed starting on January 25. He informed that they will still request funding for the hiring more contact tracers for the region.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development - CAR Regional Director Leo Quintilla also assured their readiness to augment the LGUs' response actions in terms of family food packs and non - food items, especially in areas that are placed under granular lockdown.
Quintilla also reported to the RTF that 850 family food packs were already in transit to Mountain Province as the meeting was going on. .
The RTF agreed to review the present border control protocols in the region to come out with a policy that will help in preventing the movement of COVID cases from one area to another and at the same time task force member agencies also committed to support the other COVID - 19 responses needed, based on the capacity of their respective agencies.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Aggressive Community Testing team of NTF COVID and BCDA and Oplan Kalinga, to help in the conduct of expanded mass testing and for contracting hotels and other possible facilities that can be used as isolation facilities, especially in Mountain Province.
Mogol reiterated the need to maintain the implementation of the PDITR (Protect, Detect, Isolate, Treat and Reintegrate) strategy and expressed gratitude to all the RTF members citing the importance of continuously working together for a pro-active approach and immediate response to any disaster or emergency that threaten the health and safety of the people of Cordillera. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)