BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
The Bacolod City Government Center grounds will remain closed to the public indefinitely due to the growing number of city employees infected with the coronavirus disease 2019.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia said that, as of yesterday, 22 city employees had tested positive for Covid.
Emergency Operations Center records showed that, of these cases, 12 are from the City Engineer’s Office, two from the City Mayor’s Office, five are staff members of Councilor Cindy Rojas, and an employee of the City Treasurer’s Office.
Several employees of the city government also underwent surveillance testing yesterday to check if they have been infected by the virus.
In a recorded message, Leonardia said that, in as much as they would like to see people at the BGC grounds, hopefully the public will understand that it should be closed for a while for everyone’s safety.
He also expressed his gratitude to the Inter-Agency Task Force for granting a 7-day moratorium on the arrival of travelers from the National Capital Region and the provinces of Davao, Cebu, Cavite, Bulacan, and Laguna to Region 6, including Bacolod, adding that this will help a lot in lowering the cases of Covid in the city.
Leonardia noted that no less than Secretary Carlito Galvez himself said that once Covid cases in NCR increase, this will have a rippling effect on other highly urbanized cities in the country.
In February, Bacolod’s daily average case was only two but, this month, the average daily cases already reached 30 plus, and the mayor said this is considered alarming.
Before the Holy Week observance, resorts and café owners in Bacolod met with Leonardia and they all agreed to temporarily suspend operations in an effort to contain the further spread of the virus.
The mayor said he is thankful for the cooperation shown by resort and café owners in barangays Punta Taytay, Pahanocoy, Banago, Alangilan, and Granada. He also thanked personnel of the Bacolod police for helping the city implement the temporary suspension of operations of these establishments.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy for medical and data analysis of EOC, said that among the things they have discussed over the weekend is the possibility of sending samples to the Philippine Genome Center to determine the Covid variant present in Bacolod and neighboring areas.
Sorongon said there is a possibility that the P3 variant, that was originally detected in Central Visayas and later in Manila, has already entered Bacolod and other areas of Negros Occidental.
Sorongon, who also tested positive for Covid-19, is still recuperating in a private hospital.
Twenty-eight frontline healthcare workers, composed of 27 doctors and one nurse, who received their first dose of Sinovac vaccines on March 5 and 7, were administered the second dose at the Bacolod City Government Center lobby yesterday.
OIC City Health Officer, Dr. Edwin Miraflor Jr., led the vaccination team of the city government in administering the anti-Covid shots. Dr. Dolores Rommela Tiples-Ruiz, infectious diseases specialist and one of the doctors who received their second dose of Sinovac vaccines yesterday, said that the normal interval between the two doses is around 28 to 42 days.*