The province of Negros Oriental has recorded 304 new recoveries from the coronavirus disease 2019 even as local government units are struggling with a surge in cases in the past weeks.
Assistant Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Liland Estacion, the incident commander of the province’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in a virtual press briefing, said the number is an accumulated total from swab test results from June 3-7.
“We are late in our reporting because these results came from laboratories in Cebu City where specimens of the ongoing massive swab testing in Dumaguete and nearby areas of Metro-Dumaguete were done in the past week,” she said.
Estacion called on the people not to be complacent even with the high number of recoveries because many are still contracting the virus.
She noted that the province logged 452 new cases from June 3-6.
She said many people still insist on breaking the basic health protocols, such as the wearing of face masks and face shields and observing physical distancing.
What is worst is that there are still gatherings and this is a “super-spreader”, especially when people linger over food and drinks, Estacion said.
Negros Oriental has recently surpassed other areas in Central Visayas in having the highest number of Covid-19 cases, with doctors calling for the declaration of an enhanced community quarantine as the health system is already “overwhelmed”.
As of June 9, the total caseload of Negros Oriental was 5,410, broken down into 3,594 recoveries, 1,714 active cases, and 102 mortalities.
Dumaguete, the capital city, has the highest number of active cases at 564.
Officials of Negros Oriental and Dumaguete have earlier requested assistance from the Covid-19 Regional Task Force 7 for the immediate procurement of vaccines to stem the continuing surge of cases.
Office of Civil Defense 7 regional director Marlou Salazar, concurrently the chair of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council 7 and RTF-7, has visited Dumaguete to look into the current situation, Adrian Sedillo, executive director of the PIATF-EID, said in an interview Tuesday.
“Director Salazar asked us about our needs as well as inquired about the establishment of an Emergency Operations Center especially in Dumaguete,” Sedillo said.
Sedillo said he told Salazar that Dumaguete has recently established its own EOC and the province intends to put up a joint EOC, being the current “epicenter” of Covid cases in Negros Oriental.
Another concern raised was on empowering local government units to impose granular lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus, he said.
The meeting also discussed the intensification of contact tracing activities and the availability of isolation facilities at the barangay level.
He said Salazar wanted to make representations on the request for vaccines, “even though Secretary Carlito Galvez has promised to send some for Negros Oriental and if it is possible, to do this via a back-channel”.
“If Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo was able to make it through a plain and simple request, why can’t we?” he said, referring to the recent arrival of 10,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine for Dumaguete.
Sedillo noted that DOH-7 has repeatedly said the allocation of vaccines for Negros Oriental is based on its consumption rate, but he told Salazar he believed it was not the lone basis.
Another request that was raised during Salazar’s visit was to raise the number of augmentation nurses being sent to private hospitals by the DOH-7.
The PIATF also asked for additional swab kits amid the massive testing of first-generation contacts of Covid-19 positive cases in Dumaguete and in other parts of the province, Sedillo said.*PNA