BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson has requested a 7-day moratorium on the entry of Overseas Filipino Workers and Locally Stranded Individuals into Negros Occidental from October 1 to 7 in order to give the province time to prepare and decongest its COVID-19 quarantine facilities.
Lacson informed the Negros Occidental mayors of the request in a zoom meeting with retired general Melquiades Feliciano, Visayas Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) head, to enforce uniform contact tracing measures and to set up emergency operation centers to stem the rise of COVID-19 cases.
The governor, in a letter yesterday to Director Juan Jovian Ingenerio of the Regional IATF-EID, said there is congestion and non-availability of quarantine facilities in Negros Occidental due to the immense influx of OFWs and LSIs.
“Due to rising number of COVID-positive cases we are having difficulty in ensuring that all returning OFWs and LSIs are properly accommodated in our quarantine facilities,” Lacson said.
Negros Occidental had 67 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths yesterday, the Department of Health reported last night.
This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental to 2,925 with 42 deaths, DOH added.
Lacson pointed out that it is the provincial government’s protocol that returning OFWs and LSIs be subjected to mandatory quarantine pending the results of their RT-PCR tests.
On their arrival in Negros Occidental they are transported to the provincial healing center for orientation and swab tests, and are brought to hotels or designated quarantine facilities, he said.
COVID positive cases stay longer in quarantine facilities because of re-swabbing and re-testing until their RT-PCR turns out negative, he said
The 7-day moratorium on the entry of OFWs and LSIs will give Negros Occidental ample time to decongest, disinfect and prepare its quarantine facilities for the new batch of incoming OFWs and LSIs, the governor said.
During the zoom meeting, the governor commended the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital molecular laboratory in Silay City for having caught up with its backlog and for now conducting more than 1,000 COVID-19 tests a day.
Lacson said he was also informed by the Energy Development Corp. that it is willing to donate an extractor to the molecular laboratory to further hasten its COVID-19 testing capacity.
Feliciano briefed the mayors on COVID-19 contact tracing methods to stem the spread of the virus.
He cited their success in bringing down the rise in COVID-19 cases in Cebu City.*