BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The tracing of persons in close contacts with 23 employees of the Department of the Interior and Local Government in Iloilo, who tested positive for Covid-19, has reached Negros Occidental, prompting Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and 18 other provincial DILG employees to go on self-isolation, pending their scheduled swab testing today.
Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said yesterday that Lacson had a close contact with the DILG official from Iloilo, who later tested positive for the virus, during the Provincial Anti-Drug Summit held at the Negros Residences in Bacolod City on Jan. 22.
“Hopefully, the result will yield negative, and he (Lacson) can go back to work,” Diaz said.
The DILG-Negros Occidental provincial office was also closed yesterday for disinfection, and will resume operations today.
Diaz said that some DILG-Negros Occidental employees will be accepted at the Mambukal Mountain Resort in Murcia for preventive isolation, pending the release of the swab test results.
He also said that the Iloilo–based DILG official was classified as an APOR or Authorized Person Outside Residence, was exempted from inspection at the port.
“We really have to be careful. It’s (virus) just there. We can hurt people by not being responsible,” Diaz stressed.
“APOR or not, we have to follow protocols all the time,” Diaz added.
Meanwhile, the DILG Region 6 said in a statement that all personnel who tested positive are already undergoing isolation in their respective LGUs and extensive contact tracing has been done to determine contacts up to the second degree.
It added that it is in close coordination with the Iloilo city government and the DOH 6 to ensure that all protocols are observed, from isolation to contact tracing. The DILG 6 has advised the public to remain calm as the condition is properly managed and handled, it added.*