BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
Mayor Evelio Leonardia asked Health Secretary Francisco Duque yesterday to de-escalate Bacolod City’s quarantine status from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine to the less stringent General Community Quarantine effective Thursday.
Leonardia in his letter to Duque, chairman of the national Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), said the city government has already instituted several measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“These are being undertaken under a centralized system at our Emergency Operations Center, with the guidance and close supervision of IATF Chief Implementer for Visayas, retired major general Melquiades Feliciano, resulting to a downtrend in COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks,” the mayor said.
He said the city needs to reopen several businesses after a month-long lull and allow back public transportation to enliven the local economy.
“While saving lives is of ultimate importance, with a GCQ we can also save the livelihoods of our people,” the mayor added.
Bacolod City had 56 new COVID-19 cases and 14 new deaths yesterday, the Department of Health reported last night.
This brings Bacolod’s total COVID-19 cases to 3,940 with 80 deaths.
President Rodrigo Duterte, on the recommendation of the IATF, on September 7 placed Bacolod under MECQ because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city.
Feliciano in a meeting with Negros Occidental mayors yesterday reiterated the need for all COVID-19 positive residents to be quarantined and for their close contacts in their residences to be locked down for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus.
He said COVID-19 positive residents who do not want to stay in government quarantine facilities can stay in hotels if they can afford it.
Four hotels in Bacolod City with 70 rooms have been commissioned for COVID-19 positive residents, he said.
He said those who test positive but are asymptomatic need not be hospitalized to reserve spaces for those who are symptomatic and need the necessary health care.
Feliciano said there are now more hospital rooms available for COVID-19 patients in Bacolod City than when his team first arrived to help the city and the province.*