(File photo)

LAOAG CITY – After a series of localized lockdowns and restrictive measures to limit the spread of Covid-19, the municipality of Sarrat in Ilocos Norte is now free of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

From 32 cases in a span of two weeks, Sarrat town Mayor Remigio Medrano said on Saturday they are now back to zero active cases.

“Our faith and humility precede us Sarrateneos. From 32 cases to zero, we have stood strong. Let’s keep the discipline among us,” said Medrano as he thanked Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc and all front-liners.

On Friday, medical front-liners bade goodbye to IN-C49, the last active case in Sarrat town from Barangay 9 San Lorenzo who has recovered and discharged from the hospital.

San Lorenzo village was where the Covid-19 outbreak started and ended when IN-C49, a 63-year old male with exposure to a previous patient was reunited with his family.

Dr. Norman Rabago, provincial health consultant reiterated that the key to success is a “unified and integrated” approach to ward off the virus from spreading from one person to another.

The spike of Covid-19 cases in the area pressed the enhancement of existing contact tracing protocols in the province.

Among the new strategies that were adopted in the province include the expanded testing for Covid-19. It also involved the Department of Health, Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and other hospitals, private sectors, the Bureau of Fire Protection, and others that want to volunteer to be part of local contact tracing.

Ilocos Norte also adopted Baguio City’s best contact tracing practices which involve cognitive interviewing strategy and computerized data collection and analysis to hasten the operation.

“We also have to capacitate and maximize our Information Technology Department’s abilities to help us with this endeavor. We want to be more logical, organized, unified, and more updated on our protocol,” said Rabago.

To date, Ilocos Norte continues to train and mobilize the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and barangay volunteers to be part of Local Contact Tracing Teams.

With these new strategies, it is expected that contact tracing in the province will be more centralized, systematic, and community-focused.

As of Saturday, Ilocos Norte has a total of 115 confirmed cases with 75 recoveries and one death so far. (PNA)