Bishop Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete called on local government leaders and the community yesterday for more pro-active measures to stem the transmission of Covid-19 amid a surge of cases in Negros Oriental.
“This has to be a call to the entire community that we pay attention to this,” Cortes, in a telephone interview said. “This is the number one issue that we need to attend to whether we are leaders or members in the community.”
“I agree with what the DOH is saying, and I believe that it is true with what is happening to us, that the war on Covid is not anymore in our hospitals, testing centers and facilities, but rather it is in our homes, our communities and in our barangays,” he added.
Cortes on Sunday centered his message on the current Covid-19 crisis facing the local community during the Feast of the Sto. Niño, saying it was also his response to the call of local medical doctors that “we should call our people to greater unity.”
He appealed to the people to regard the Covid-19 pandemic “more seriously” as he noted that the current situation in Dumaguete, the capital of Negros Oriental, is “distressing”.
In recent weeks, the city showed a spike in infections, which health authorities attributed mostly to the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Since November, Dumaguete saw a surge in Covid-19 cases and, as of yesterday, it has 93 active infections, the Provincial Health Office reported.
Doctors have repeatedly called on local government officials and the city Inter-Agency Task Force to re-impose and/or institute stricter quarantine measures as health officials in the province already declared a community transmission in the capital.
Several cases of transmission and infections in the province are traced back to households, offices, institutions and organizations where there is high risk of exposure to asymptomatic patients, and in some instances, the source of infection could no longer be identified or located.
The Dumaguete prelate proposed adoption and observance of the so-called 3Fs and 3Cs as he emphasized the love for neighbor as being paramount in surviving the pandemic.
“Our attention and care can save lives – our own and those of others”, and that solidarity would help the people overcome this health emergency, he said.
The three Fs include faith in God, through the Sto. Niño, who is with the people in his “eternal youth” to overcome the pandemic; and the wearing of face masks and face shields, especially in public places.
On the other hand, the three Cs mean avoiding close contact with others, crowded places, and confined spaces.
He also highlighted being responsible and doing self- isolation as recommended by the DOH, when one suspects being Covid-positive. “Covid is real. Covid kills. But in solidarity with one another, we can restrict its spread in our communities,” Cortes said.*PNA