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Valenzuela's Gatchalian urges testing of PUMs, warns of potential carriers spreading COVID-19


The testing of those previously categorized as persons under monitoring (PUM) for possible coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection should not stop as they could still be potential carriers posing a threat to the general public, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said Wednesday.

Gatchalian made the appeal after the Department of Health (DOH) announced last week that PUMs are no longer included in their revised classification of COVID-19 cases.

The mayor reported that five out 40 residents who were swabbed for the coronavirus disease tested positive even though “their houses have been on lockdown.”

“[This] is alarming. The five that tested positive are all PUMs. In the new category of DOH, the PUM category [is the] last priority in the hierarchy of swabbing. Pero when we swabbed, nag-positive sila,” he said on Twitter

PUMs were previously defined by the DOH as people with no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 but have a history of overseas travel or exposure to known cases.

Gatchalian said he had already sent their data to the DOH and urged health authorities to reconsider testing PUMs.

“By not testing PUMs, are we not in danger of releasing potential carriers into the community that may lead to contagion?” he said. “Here in Valenzuela, we will still test all our PUMs to be sure.”

Valenzuela began mass testing residents last week after forging a partnership with The Medical City, which recently received certification to conduct COVID-19 tests.

There are 52 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city with three deaths and one recovery according to data from the DOH as of Wednesday afternoon. -MDM, GMA News