Lower quarantine status for city sought

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BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia has requested Health Secretary Francisco Duque lll Thursday to deescalate the community quarantine status of Bacolod City from General Community Quarantine (GCQ) to Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) effective yesterday due to the continuous reduction of additional COVID-19 cases in the city.

In his letter to Duque through Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing lll dated October 15, Leonarda said the COVID-19 interventions that they have undertaken under a centralized system at their Emergency Operations center (EOC), with the guidance and close supervision of Inter-Agency Task Force Chief Implementer for Visayas Retired Maj. Gen. Melquiades Feliciano, have resulted in a continuous decline of cases of COVID-19 in Bacolod City during the last two weeks.

As of October 15, there were 591 active COVID-19 cases and 4,491 accumulated cases in Bacolod City. The recoveries have reached 3,937 or 85.29 percent, which correlate to good management and treatment of COVID-19 cases, he said.

Based on the local government risk matrix, the 2-week growth rate of COVID-19 cases at .58 percent which is considered low, while the average daily attack rate is down to 5.32 percent from 11 percent two weeks ago, Leonardia said.

“We have successfully implemented a COVID-19 surveillance testing in our three major public markets that yielded a positivity rate of 1.5 percent with 25 confirmed cases out of 1,665 vendors tested. An additional 334 vendors were also tested Tuesdya and still awaiting results,” he said.

Leonardia said they have already started the implementation of the Bacolod City Contact Tracing System (BaCTrac), a localized web and mobile application using the South Cotabato COVID Contact Tracing System (SC-CCTS), enacted through City Ordinance No. 941 series of 2020. A total of 212,319 resident and 5,128 establishments registered to their system. This system compliments their existing aggressive contact tracing operations.

“We are also continuously working to expand our healthcare capacities – including providing additional beds and hiring health workers. The healthcare capacity utilization rate in all tertiary and private and government hospitals in Bacolod City is only at 64 percent, less than half of which is form Bacolod City while the rest are COVID-19 patients from other local governments in the province of Negros Occidental,” he said.

With these measures in place, they are confident that Bacolod City is ready to transition into a MGCQ, Leonardia said.

There is a significant indication of a continuous reduction of additional cases in the city. Given the foregoing, it is but a logical step for the city government to transition into GCQ, he said.

“Our city must reopen our local economy after an extended lull so that we can get back on track to rapid growth,” Leonardia added.*

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