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Zamboanga City COVID-19 cases continue to spike due to community transmission

CORONAVIRUS cases in Zamboanga City continue to spike, hitting 1,622 active patients as of May 2 from only 216 on April 8, due mainly to community transmission. “1,541 or over 90% of the total active cases are due to community transmission,” the city government said in a statement. Zamboanga, a major port city in the southwestern part of Mindanao, last saw a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surge in Oct. 2020. While it has been under the most relaxed quarantine level, checks on minimum health standards have been stringent as it is tied up with the regular security checkpoints and patrols. Last week, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar ordered the closure of all beaches, inland resorts, and other establishments with swimming pool until May 15 to stop gatherings in these venues. The head of one of the city’s main hospitals, Hanna R. Turco of the Mindanao Central Sanitarium, appealed to the public last week for cooperation and support in curbing the transmissions. “We are appealing because our health system in Zamboanga is almost collapsing,” the doctor said, speaking for other medical frontliners. The local government has been setting up additional isolation facilities while its molecular testing center, which will be the 5th COVID-19 testing laboratory in the city, is 90% complete. The mayor, in a press release, said the molecular testing facility “is part of the initiative of the CHO (City Health Office) as it boosts the test, trace and treatment strategy in a bid to prevent and control COVID transmission.” Zamboanga City has recorded a total of 6,627 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with 251 deaths and 4,754 recoveries based on data from the Department of Health as of May 2. — MSJ

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