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Benguet now under GCQ, locals avert swabbing due to pain

GCQ PLEASE. Benguet Vice Gov. Johnny Waguis last week asked the Inter-agency Task Force to lower the quarantine status of the province from modified enhanced community quarantine to general CQ as this has affected the economy of Benguet and limited mobility of its people even as Covid-19 cases are going down. PIO – Benguet photo

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Benguet quarantine status has been reduced to general community quarantine even as the Cordillera provinces of Ifugao and Apayao remain under modified enhanced community quarantine.

This as locals here avert testing due to the pain and instead would prefer to be jabbed than swabbed.

The Inter-Agency Task Force acted to lower the quarantine status of the province upon the request of the provincial board and endorsed by Gov. Melchor Diclas due to the reduced number of Covid-19 cases here with the observance of the minimum health protocol.

The Benguet board on June 7 passed Resolution No. 2021-1160 as the MECQ status “has greatly affected the economy of the Province of Benguet and the mobility of its residents, wherein establishments, local transportation, among others, have limited time of operation and are subjected to othert restrictions such as No Dine in Policy.”

The board also noted that instead, Benguet residents travel to nearby Baguio to enjoy such amenities.

In urging the IATF to lower its quarantine status, the board cited the province’s hospitals current health care utilization rate of only 60 percent and positivity rate of only 10.86 percent.

Members of the provincial board likewise reported a high rate of vaccination in the province.

Meanwhile, even with a high vaccination acceptance of locals here, many avert testing, La Trinidad mayor Romeo Salda said.

This after the municipality recorded a little above 50 percent of targeted 1,000 residents showing up for the active community testing.

Only 506 persons showed up for swabbing because it is painful during the June 10-11 ACT, Salda said.

“Some of them (swabbed) first texted their colleagues that it is painful and so they did not go,” Salda reported.

While some said that they would rather have themselves jabbed to avoid getting swabbed during the two day testing.

Of those swabbed, 42 tested positive and are now in isolation, added Salda.

Three other Benguet towns subjected to the ACT showed low turn outs. Of the 400 slated in Tuba, only 41 or nearly 10 percent showed up, while Sablan and Tublay, which were allotted 50 each had only 21 and 20 persons showing or 42 and 40 percent, respectively.

Only one each for Sablan and Tuba tested positive and none for Tublay.

Of the 1,500 slated testing for the four municipalities, 588 went for swabbing or a measly 39.2 percent. Of these, 44 tested positive or a measly 7.48 percent.

In contrast, of the 3,500 scheduled for swabbing in Baguio, 2,834 showed up for an 80.98 percent attendance. Of those tested, 143 came out positive or 5.04 percent positivity rate, which accounted for the high number of Covid-19 cases the past days.

Due to the low torn out, Salda asked owners of high risk establishments to encourage their employees to undergo swabbing.

As this developed, Benguet surpassed 9,000 Covid-19 cases, while Baguio breached the 13,000 mark.

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