BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The two Negros provinces have been added by the Inter Agency Task Force to areas in the country that were placed under Alert Level 3 due to increasing COVID-19 positive cases.
The Department of Health-Western Visayas Center for Health and Development reported yesterday 74 additional COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental and 57 more in Bacolod City which was placed under Alert Level 3 yesterday.
As of January 14, the Provincial Incident Management Team reported that Negros Occidental now has 765 COVID-19 cases. At the same time, occupants of the Cadiz and Silay quarantine facilities are also increasing.
The Alert Level 3 status in Negros Occidental will be implemented starting January 16 until 31 this year, based on the executive order issued yesterday by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson.
As stipulated in the provisions of executive order issued by Lacson, persons below 18 years of age, senior citizens, and those with comorbidities shall only be allowed to travel to obtain essential goods and services, work permitted industries and offices and individual outdoor exercises.
It also reduces outdoor venue capacity to 50 percent, regardless of vaccination status in limited operation establishments, while indoor venue capacity is reduced to 30 percent and must only cater to fully vaccinated individuals.
Infected individuals with no, as well mild symptoms will be placed under home quarantine and isolation, pursuant to DOH Circular No. 2022-0002, Series of 2022.
The possibility of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental having uniform protocols and travel guidelines are now being looked into by the two provincial governments.
Negros Occidental provincial government administrator Rayfrando Diaz said that they will wait the proposal of their counterpart in Negros Oriental.
By implementing uniform protocols, this will not hamper the movement of the people and transactions in the two provinces, Dr. Liland Estacion, Provincial Health Officer of Negros Oriental, told the Dumaguete-based media in a press conference yesterday.
Negros Oriental has 147 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and two mortalities on January 14, based on results released by four laboratories.
It has now a total of 196 active COVID-19 cases, with Dumaguete City having the greatest number of cases at 73, while Tayasan, Ayungon and La Libertad towns have zero cases.
Estacion reported that Negros Oriental has a 25 percent admission rate in both private and government hospitals.*