BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
There were 80 new COVID-19 positive cases in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City during the weekend, the Department of Health reported.
Negros Occidental has 51 new cases, of which 6 are local transmissions, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 409.
Bacolod City has 29 new COVID-19 cases, of which 25 are local transmissions, bringing the total to 150.
Philippine Medical Association – Canlaon Medical Society president, Dr. Ma. Ivy Malata, and Philippine Medical Association – Negros Occidental Medical Society president, Dr. Roberto Puerta, in a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday called for the declaration of an Enhanced Community Quarantine over Bacolod City for two weeks.
“We are not equipped for a full-blast Covid war,” they said.
They appealed to the National Inter-Agency Task Force for an ECQ for at least two weeks to help contain the virus, enable the healthcare system to recuperate, and to give time to institute and implement appropriate interventions, especially with the way Locally Stranded Individuals and overseas Filipino workers are being handled, they said.
“We only have a few hospitals, with limited capacity and equipment. We are just a few steps from being the next epicenter, and we fervently hope that you can help us prevent that from happening,” the doctors added.
“We believe this is the best way by which we can halt or at least slow down the spread of local transmission, at the same time fix the loopholes that we have in our system, that have led to the situation we are experiencing now,” they said.
They pointed out that there has been a rapid spike in the COVID-19 positive cases, with local transmission reaching its highest in the past few days.
“We are now the highest in Western Visayas, and there are hundreds of pending results coming in,” they said.
They also pointed out that numerous healthcare workers and frontliners have been admitted or home-quarantined.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia held a virtual meeting with leaders of the doctors’ groups Saturday that he described as very good.
“We respect the views and opinions of these doctors but I was surprised to learn of their letter to the president” only last night, he said, as it was not mentioned to him in their meeting Saturday.
He said the recommendations mentioned by the doctors in their letter to the president were the matters that they took up Saturday.
They suggested an ECQ that was not resolved yet on Saturday, he said.
They had already set a meeting with representatives of the medical community, business leaders and city officials this afternoon to be joined by Health Regional Director Dr. Marlyn Convocar to further tackle the COVID-19 situation in Bacolod, he said.
“We will make a clear and honest assessment of the situation and will submit it to the (national) IATF,” Leonardia said, adding that today’s meeting will be critical.
It is the national IATF that has the authority to decide what quarantine status Bacolod City will be placed under, Bacolod Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran said.
The City Health Office reported that, of the 27 new confirmed cases Saturday, 19 are close contacts of COVID Patient No. 89, three are LSIs, three are health care workers, and two are local cases.
There were no details yet about the two new local transmissions yesterday.
Patient No. 89 was reported to be a liaison officer of the General Services Office. Familiaran said she infected the employees of the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs.*