BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Twenty-five out of 1,665 market vendors who participated in the COVID-19 surveillance testing tested positive for the virus, or a positivity rate of 1.5 percent, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said yesterday.
“The overwhelming success of the surveillance testing is attributed to the cooperation and commitment of the market vendors in our effort to fight COVID-19. Minimum health protocols are in place to assure the public that our markets are safe,” the mayor said.
Leonardia said that the data will help the city government assess if the safety protocols set in place by the city’s market supervisors such as the wearing of face shields and face masks, installation of handwashing stations and imposing physical distancing, are effective.
City Administrator Em Ang said the result of the surveillance testing in the three major public markets helped them identify active cases of COVID-19 in the markets.
Those who tested positive can be isolated and brought to isolation facilities so that they cannot infect others, Ang said.
She added that the identification and isolation of COVID-19 positive market vendors will also assure market goers that the public markets are safe.
Those who tested positive have been extracted and brought to isolation facilities, which means that those who are left in the markets are those who tested negative for COVID-19, she said.
“The positivity rate of 1.5 percent is lower than our positivity rate in general. This shows that the health protocols we have been implementing in the markets must be effective,” Ang said.
She cited, for example, the hand-washing stations installed by the city in the public markets, markings for physical distancing, the strict implementation of the wearing of face mask and face shields, and the implementation of the “one entrance-one exit policy” in the markets.
All these measures have helped contribute to the reduction of COVID-19 cases in Bacolod City, she said.
She said that, based on their data, Bacolod is qualified to be downgraded to Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) status because the city’s daily attack rate, growth rate, healthcare and isolation facilities utilization have all gone down.
“The utilization of our quarantine and isolation facilities is only 28 percent which means that 72 percent of beds are underutilized.
This means that we do not have many COVID-positive cases,” she added.
Ang said that in terms of the number of cases and the city’s capability, all indicators all point to a low-risk situation for Bacolod.
So she is very confident that the status of Bacolod will be downgraded from General Community Quarantine (GCQ) to MGCQ after October 15.*CGS