BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Mayor Evelio Leonardia last night said he condoles with the family of a 48-year-old female Bacolod City government employee who passed away 12:12 a.m. yesterday from pneumonia.
She tested positive for COVID-19 based on her Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test results taken July 30, which was released yesterday, hours after she expired, a press statement from the mayor’s office said.
She was cremated yesterday in compliance with DOH protocols on COVID-related deaths. Those who have come in close contact with her have also been swabbed.
She had informed her officemates that she was asthmatic and had an enlarged heart.
The victim initially experienced occasional cough and consulted a private doctor on July 27 and went on home quarantine/isolation. She was swabbed on July 30 with other personnel in her department because of possible exposure to a co-employee who became COVID-positive.
Thereafter, she resumed her home quarantine.
However, on August 1, she started having difficulty breathing and was brought to a hospital the following day. She expired in the early hours of yesterday.
“It is sad to lose her. She was a valuable member of the team at her office and we truly appreciate her service at the city government. May she rest in peace and may the family she left behind be comforted by our prayers,” the mayor said.
“Let us not take our health protocols for granted. We should look at ourselves and each other as possible COVID-positives and take precautions accordingly,” the mayor added.
Three barangays in Bacolod City are among the top five barangays in Western Visayas with the most number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, based on records of the Department of Health VI.
The five barangays in Western Visayas with the most number of COVID-19 cases are Estefania, Banago and Tangub in Bacolod City with two others in Iloilo City.
Records from the DOH show that Estefania has 24 cases, Banago -16, and Tangub – 13.
Athough there is an increasing trend in the number of COVID cases, Bacolod City can not be labeled as the epicenter of coronavirus disease in the region, a DOH official said.
Leonardia said they simply have to work harder and ask for the cooperation of the people.
“We will be stricter in implementing our measures against COVID-19 and tighten our lockdown areas,” the mayor said.
Estefania Barangay Captain Jerry Tingson said there are 10 areas in the barangay where they sealed off a house or houses of persons who have had close contact with COVID positive patients. These involve about 41 families.
The areas that have been sealed off are Greensville 1, Cityville Subdivision, East Homes 1, East Homes 2, Villa Estefania Phase 2, Villa Angeles Subdivision, Jesusa Heights Subdivision, Capitol Hills, Purok Arao and Purok Villamar, he said.
Meanwhile, three puroks in Barangay 16, Bacolod City were placed under lockdown Wednesday after two male job order casual employees of the Bacolod City Government tested positive for COVID-19. The lockdown affected 13 houses involving about 18 families.
Barangay Captain Joseph Delos Santos said the puroks that were sealed off are Puroks Tulihaw and Punay where a 43-year-old job order casual employee of the Office of Senior Citizens Association (OSCA) and a 24-year-old staff of the General Services Office (GSO) live, respectively, as well as Purok Kingfisher 3 where people who had been in close contact with the GSO employee live.
He said the 17 close contacts of the GSO personnel have been made to undergo RT-PCR test.
The barangay hall of Barangay 16 was also temporarily closed for disinfection since a sibling of the OSCA personnel, who is a barangay health worker, had visited the place.
On the other hand, a post on social media became viral when the son of a COVID patient from Banago, who died on July 15, questioned why their father was cremated right away when he was not positive for COVID-19.
Based on the Facebook post, the family of the 65-year-old man received a call that his RT-PCR test result was negative.
The result of his swab test came out on July 17 showing that he tested positive for COVID-19, base on records of the City Health Office.
Dr. Grace Tan, spokesperson of the city’s inter-agency task force against coronavirus, said a doctor’s diagnosis of the patient showed that he died of infectious disease and that more than 50 percent of people he had been in close contact with tested positive for COVID-19.
Because of this pandemic, any hospital will assess the severity of the case if it is infectious or not and will advise whether to cremate the patient or not. On the part of the CHO, the result they release is based on the statement or the result they were provided by the hospital, she said.*