Extension of MECQ is likely

For lack of space, this Tribune issue was unable to accommodate several stories and articles as well as two photos submitted for publication. Our apologies to the senders, authors and the reading public…

Last Oct. 13, 2021, the city government of Naga inaugurated the Naga City Hospital Molecular Laboratory, the first ever LGU-owned and operated RT-PCR laboratory in the Bicol region.
Mayor Nelson Legacion said that this will fast track the collection of swab results for Nagueños who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and their immediate close contacts. He added that the fastest the results are out, the earlier that cases will be detected, thus, lowering the chance of further spreading the virus.
The RT-PCR lab can process 80 tests a day on an 8-hour schedule and can be ramped up until 200 tests if operations time will be extended.
The city government is targeting a 6-day per week operation time, given the 2-day spoil limit of swab samples, with one day allotted for the decontamination of the facility.
This accomplishment is no longer a surprise for the Naguenos, who have been used to the brand of responsive governance espoused by the late Mayor Jesse Robredo.
What should surprise local chief executives in Catanduanes is that the Naga City Molecular Lab was established for only P13.5M, with P5M coming from the Angat-Buhay program of Vice President Leni Gerona-Robredo.
It may be recalled that sometime last year, the Department of Health reportedly promised P70 million for the construction of an RT-PCR lab at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center.
Just a few months ago, the Motortrade Philippines was willing to donate a P2.7-M RT-PCR machine for a proposed lab at EBMC but the provincial government needed P20 million more for other equipment like a biosafety cabinet, freezers and others which are mandatory under DOH regulations as well as reagents and other consumables.
Can local officials find out from Naga City LGU how they were able to build the lab for only P13.5 million?
The two-day delay in waiting for results of Catanduanes’ swab samples from the mainland laboratory could mean the difference between halting the current surge in COVID-19 cases and allowing it to spread beyond control of the already fatigued health workers.

Comparing the PHO COVID-19 Tracker for Oct. 31 and Nov. 4, 2021, it appears that 12 more people have died from coronavirus complications in the past five days.
This figure does not include those who may have expired from COVID-19 on Nov. 5 and 6.
The five-day death tally comes from Virac (4), San Andres (3), and Caramoran (3), with one each from Bato, Viga and Bagamanoc.
The new cases for the period Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2021 totaled 186, just two more than the 184 recorded in the previous week.
San Andres accounted for 48 of the new cases, followed by Virac with 45, Caramoran with 22 and Bato with 17. These four towns accounted for 70 percent of the new cases, with the remainder coming from Gigmoto (16), Pandan (14), Baras (8), San Miguel (6), Panganiban (4), Bagamanoc (3) and Viga (3).
If there is any improvement in the pandemic situation in Catanduanes as a result of the heightened restrictions, this could be manifested in a reduction in the number of new cases this week.
Sans any significant decrease, it is likely that the MECQ implementation could be extended up to Nov. 30, especially if the mayors fail to implement the restrictions to the letter.

THE DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER. A doctor was driving his four-year old daughter to preschool when she picked up a stethoscope that he had left in the backseat and began playing with it. Glancing in his rearview mirror, he smiled at the thought that perhaps his daughter would eventually follow in his footsteps.
Then the child spoke into the instrument: “Welcome to McDonald’s. May I take your order?”

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