On February 18, 2021, during the meeting of the Municipal Task Force Against Covid-19, Dr. Jeannette A. Lazatin, Provincial Health Officer commended the strict implementation of the municipality in mitigating the spread of the Covid-19 virus, particularly during the initial phase of the pandemic where Moncada was hailed as the strictest LGU in enforcing health protocols.
Though cases broke out in the latter part of February and at the onset of the current month, Mayor Estelita M. Aquino has shown her excellent prowess and acted with dispatch and urgency in implementing courses of action to return to a Covid-free status. This is the highlight of her accomplishments for March, the containment of local transmission in her area of jurisdiction.
On February 17, 2021, due to the mounting number of cases recorded by our Municipal Health Office (MHO), majority of which, if not all, came from the operation of Small-Town Lottery (STL), the Municipal Task Force had recommended the urgent imposition of Granular Lockdown for two weeks at the Soriano Compound in Brgy. Burgos. Massive disinfection of said area was performed to help stop the further spread of the virus.
Moreover, Antigen Mass Testing was carried out among STL employees and those who tested positive and their first-generation contacts were immediately isolated. Intensified contact tracing was done by the RHU personnel to outpace the rapid spread of the infection.
Individuals who tested positive in the antigen test were sent to Tarlac Provincial Hospital (TPH) for confirmatory testing using RT-PCR. Those confirmed positive were managed accordingly. First-generation contacts were quarantined and monitored for symptoms and were given sufficient food packs during the quarantine period.
On February 23, 2021, market stallholders and their employees underwent free antigen testing at the RHU-1 wherein 3 (Moncada=2, Paniqui=1) out of 453 individuals tested positive. They were sent to TPH for confirmatory testing and results came out positive. Proper medical management soon followed.
With the assistance of the Provincial Government of Tarlac, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) and MHO of Moncada Jointly conducted re-testing of STL employees on March 2, 2021 where in 5 out of 113 individuals tested positive. On March 5, 2021, five individuals were re-swabbed and 1 positive case was recorded. On March 7, 2021, one tested positive out of 22 individuals who underwent testing.
All households recorded as first-generation contacts were provided with 2-week relief food packs by the LGU through her initiative to sustain their daily needs while in quarantine and self-monitoring.
Testing areas and patient transport vehicles are also regularly disinfected.
Several other measures and policies were issued including Executive Orders and Ordinances aimed at slowing down the continued surge of infection. These include an ordinance regulating mass gatherings and executive orders regulating the influx of travelers and APORs coming in from high-risk areas such as NCR Plus Bubble.
Now, Moncadenians could see a glimmer of hope because the Municipal Government of Moncada, under the stewardship of Mayor Estelita M. Aquino, along with the Health Team led by Dr. Peter Louie R. Tamayo, have successfully administered 190 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO) COVAX facility. Public health workers, contact tracers, BHWs and BHERTs received their jabs at the Public Auditorium Vaccination Site last March 25, 2021. This was made possible through her collaboration with the Department of Health and National Task Force COVID-19 in which Mayor Aquino is truly grateful for.
She is also optimistic that every Moncadenian will get vaccine jab for their utmost protection once large-scale vaccination rollout begins.
With these notable actions, the 26 total active cases on March 9 drastically went down to just four (4) active cases as of press time, as compared with other localities in the Province that see outbreaks and continued surge in their local transmissions.
Mayor Aquino, together with LGU key functionaries continue to strive for a Covid-free Moncada.
Edited: A. Molina