BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
The Bacolod Emergency Operations Center is not keen on seeking another moratorium on the return of locally stranded individuals and overseas Filipino workers despite the coronavirus disease variant already detected in the country.
EOC executive director Em Ang, who is also the city administrator, emphasized that there is no need to do so since stringent measures are in place on returning LSIs, OFWs and even Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs).
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, in his Executive Order 1 series of 2021, set stricter travel guidelines to ensure that the B 1.1.7. SARS-CoV-2, or the UK variant, that spreads more rapidly than the dominant strain, will not reach the city.
On Saturday, 27 LSIs and 10 APORs arrived at the Bredco port in Bacolod on board the 2Go passenger vessel “St. Leo the Great”.
Yesterday morning, 15 LSIs and 23 APORs also arrived, on board Starlite Venus, a passenger Ro-Ro vessel from Batangas City.
Disinfection teams of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of Bacolod disinfected their bags and luggage.
After securing negative swab results, the APORs were fetched by their respective companies in private vehicles in going to their accommodations.
The DRRMO personnel, meanwhile, escorted the LSIs to the city bus that transported them to their quarantine facility at the Graciano Lopez Jaena Elementary School where they will have their RT-PCR test and will be housed temporarily until the results come out.
Those who will test negative can leave the facility and continue their quarantine period at home, while those who turn out positive will be transferred to a designated isolation facility for Covid-19 confirmed cases and shall remain in the custody and care of the city until he/she recovers from the infection, the DRRMO said.
IT added that disinfection is part of the precautionary measures of Bacolod under the directive of Leonardia in battling Covid.
Several quarantine facilities of Bacolod have been temporarily shut down due to low utilization rate, Ang said, adding that it was done to conserve resources and manpower.
But she said these facilities will be re-opened if the need arises and if cases of Covid surge again in Bacolod.
Ang also said that rooms intended for Covid patients in various hospitals in Bacolod only has a 23 percent utilization rate, as of Saturday.
The EOC will also conduct the first surveillance testing for this year using the IgG assay testing system of the U.S. based company, Marsman Drysdale Medical Product Inc.
Ang said they will conduct the testing at the Bacolod Respiratory Outpatient Center, and will announce the date later.
She said about 3,000 Bacolod residents will be tested for coronavirus, with asymptomatic residents, health workers, the police, and other frontliners as priorities. EOC records show that a total of 50,442 individuals have been tested in Bacolod, as of Jan. 14, with an average of 200 tests conducted per day.*