BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Emergency Operations Center deputy for medical and data analysis, Dr. Chris Sorongon, and 19 other employees of the Bacolod City government are now in isolation after they tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 recently.
Of the 19 employees, 10 are from the City Engineer’s Office, five are members of the staff of Councilor Cindy Rojas, two are from the EOC, and one each from the City Treasurer’s Office and the City Mayor’s Office, EOC executive director Em Ang said.
Ang clarified that both Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Rojas, who is in-charge of the returning locally stranded individuals, have not been exposed to the staff, who tested positive for Covid.
But she said Leonardia already ordered his staff members to determine the last day that the infected CMO employee reported for work since there were reports that the latter did so before the Holy Week.
Ang also said that the Bacolod Government Center has been closed since Wednesday for disinfection so the employees can safely go back to work today while a surveillance testing will be conducted on them.
Among the areas disinfected on Wednesday and yesterday were the hallways and the elevator.
Sorongon said in a radio interview last week that he started to feel ill on Monday and decided to undergo testing on Thursday, with the result showing that he is indeed infected. He is now confined at a private hospital where he is recuperating.
Ang said she also went on isolation since last week despite testing negative of the disease, along with City Health Officer, Dr. Edwin Miraflor.
With Covid cases in Bacolod rising, Leonardia issued yesterday Executive Order No. 17, series of 2021, limiting mass gatherings and other activities in the city.
Under the EO, dine-in restaurants, fast food and food retail establishments, including those in supermarkets, grocery stores, and food preparation establishments, as well as barbershops, salons, and other personal care institutions should limit occupancy to 30 percent of their capacity.
Meetings, conferences, and exhibitions as well as religious and Church gatherings are also limited to 30 percent of the venue capacity, while skeletal workforce is encouraged in public and private offices.
GRATEFUL TO BISHOP
Among the first to heed the appeal on limited mass gatherings was Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon, and Leonardia said the city government is grateful and appreciative of the prelate’s gesture.
“We are very grateful and appreciative to Bishop Patricio Buzon and the Diocese of Bacolod for responding positively to our call and appeal for stricter adherence to fundamental health protocols during the observance of the Holy Week,” Leonardia said yesterday.
“While the city is still technically classified as under modified general community quarantine, mainly because of a much lower number of Covid-19 cases in most parts of the preceding month of March, our Covid situation now has drastically changed with more positive cases coming up every day over the last two weeks, causing us great alarm,” he added.
“This dangerous situation was understood by Bishop Buzon and the Bacolod clergy and we salute them for agreeing to make big changes and adjustments in their already scheduled ceremonies and religious activities to answer the call of the times,” the mayor said.
He noted that they even cancelled the traditional Good Friday procession which is, undoubtedly, considered among the major highlights of the Holy Week. “We have seen their deep sense of care for the health and welfare of the faithful. All these have made our Lenten Season more meaningful and significant,” Leonardia added.*