BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental, that topped the list in Region 6 with having the most number of Covid-19 cases at 9,954, as reported by the Provincial Incident Management Team, has been classified as a “high risk” area, by the Department of Health-Western Visayas.
As of April 19, Negros Occidental logged 2,277 active cases, excluding the 665 in Bacolod.
Bacolod, a highly-urbanized city, was “moderate” in the risk classification of the DOH 6.
Dr. Mary Jane Roches Juanico of the DOH-Western Visayas Center for Health Development Infectious Disease Cluster, during the “Isyung Bakuna” forum of the Philippine Information Agency 6 and DOH-WV, said yesterday that the Covid-19 daily attack rate in Negros Occidental rose from 1.45 to 5.96 per 100,000 population, in the past two weeks.
SURGE IN CASES
The growth rate of Covid cases in Negros Occidental also surged, from 89.64 percent to 261 percent in the past 14 days, Juanico added.
The daily attack rate of Covid in Bacolod slightly increased from 2.01 to 2.18 per 100,000 population, and the growth rate decreased from 199.04 percent to 99 percent, she said.
Other areas in Western Visayas under the “moderate” risk classification are Iloilo City, Antique, and Capiz.
The Inter-Agency Task Force earlier denied the request of Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and the 31 mayors of Negros Occidental to place the province under the General Community Quarantine status because the Covid-19 infection rate has not reached the required level for such classification.
Lacson said that, according to regional IATF chief Juan Jovian Ingeniero, the infection rate should be 200 percent to qualify for the GCQ. When the request was made early this month, the infection rate in the province was at 107 percent.
Lacson said yesterday that he did not know if the national IATF will change its mind, with the classification of Negros Occidental as a high risk area.
He said he expects an influx of inbound travelers to Negros Occidental, because the one-week travel moratorium to Western Visayas ended yesterday.
He asked returning residents to agree to the swab testing upon entry to the province. “If they will not, we will ask them for negative RT-PCR test results taken 72 hours before their arrival,” he added.
There are now eight local government units in Negros Occidental with triple-digit Covid-19 cases that include San Carlos City – 295, Himamaylan City – 192, Kabankalan City – 149, Cauayan – 134, Murcia – 130, Bago City – 113 Binalbagan – 120, and Cadiz City – 117.
The town of Salvador Benedicto remains as the only LGU with no new active cases.
But Mayor Marxlen de la Cruz said he is not taking any chances, and ordered a limit to gatherings at 30 percent capacity, a ban on picnics and swimming activities in rivers, and the strict imposition of the curfew hours, from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Hinobaan Mayor Ernesto Estrao also imposed a temporary moratorium on the entry of tourists and visitors to the town, effective yesterday.
The New Government Center of Sipalay City was ordered closed by Mayor Gina Montilla-Lizares, from April 19 to 21 for disinfection, while contact tracing efforts will be intensified. Lizares added that the City Mayor’s Office, City Administrator’s, and Tourism Office will be closed until further noticed.*