BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
The Negros Occidental Capitol in Bacolod City and adjacent provincial government offices were locked down for five days starting yesterday amid the current surge of COVID-19 infections among its employees.
The provincial government offices are expected to resume operations Monday.
Negros Occidental Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, in a statement announcing the lockdown, said “The current surge of COVID- 19 infections in the provincial Capitol and in our hospitals, especially at the TLJPH (Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City) where our molecular laboratory is situated, has compelled us to recommend a lockdown of the provincial Capitol for five days starting August 12 to 16.”
Within the provincial Capitol, many departments have been affected by the current pandemic, he said.
Tumimbang said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and vice governor’s offices have been compromised three times.
The provincial veterinary, accounting, Bids and Awards Committee, health, public information and tourism offices have also been compromised, he said.
“By locking down the Capitol for five days we might be able to stop the transmission within the Capitol,” he said.
The Capitol frontliners, the Provincial Health Office, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Team, and the command center will still be functional to monitor provincial COVID concerns, he said.
“The provincial government hospitals are still going to function at the utmost that we can manage,” he said.
“During the lockdown, we are implementing strict home quarantine for all provincial government employees,” he added
MORE TEST POSITIVE
There are now 15 Capitol employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The wife and three children of a Sangguniang Panlalawigan watchman from Murcia town who tested positive for COVID-19 have also been infected, Provincial Administrator Rafrando Diaz said yesterday.
The wife is an employee at the Provincial Tourism Office at the Capitol and a daughter works for the Department of Agrarian Reform in Murcia, he said.
The SP employee and a daughter are confined at the Corazon Locson Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City, while the two daughters and the mother are at provincial government healing centers, Diaz said.
The mother of the provincial Bids and Awards Committee employee who tested positive is also manifesting COVID-19 symptoms, he added.
The mother works at the Provincial Veterinary Office, Diaz said.
Diaz said Provincial Legal Officer Alberto Nellas Jr. and BAC Secretary Cherry Valenzuela tested negative for the virus yesterday.
The TLJPH administrative office was also closed for decontamination after one of its employees tested positive for the virus, he said.
The rest of the hospital is fully operational, he added.
Aside from the administrative office clerk, an admitting clerk, a nurse supervisor and a medical technician at the TLJPH have also recently tested positive for the virus, Charina Magallanes-Tan, Negros Occidental COVID-19 Incident Command Center spokesperson, said.
Three COVID hit TLJPH doctors have already tested negative, she added.
Provincial government employees who also tested COVID-19 positive earlier were one each from the Provincial Health Office, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, Public Information Office, SP, and Veterinary Office, she added.*