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Bacolod City urged to hasten mobilization of barangay response teams as 1st line of defense vs COVID-19

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DR. GRACE Tan, spokesperson of the Bacolod inter-agency task force vs. COVID-19. — BACOLOD-PIO

AS THE national government imposes travel restrictions and line agencies undertake strict monitoring of entry points, local governments should focus on organizing their barangay health emergency response teams (BHERTs) to serve as the first line of defense against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) said. “Even though we guard the ports and passengers, LGUs (local government units) should focus on organizing their BHERTs,” he stressed. OPAV Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard Y. Gonzales said in a press conference in Iloilo City on Wednesday. In Western Visayas, Mr. Gonzales said only Bacolod City needs to fast-track its mobilization of BHERTs. “I am just worried about Bacolod because out of 61 barangays, only 17 have been organized,” he said, citing data from the Department of Health (DoH) regional office. “Aside from organizing, they should capacitate the barangay response teams by providing tools like handheld thermal scanners,” he added. Under the government’s response plan, people showing symptoms of COVID-19 should be able to initially consult with the local health unit before being referred to other facilities. Overall, Mr. Gonzales said the region’s response measures are well in place. “I am happy. They are well prepared and doing their best to handle the situation,” he said. As of Feb. 13, DoH data shows there are 11 persons in Western Visayas under observation in medical facilities, while 22 have already been discharged. In Bacolod, City Health Officer Grace Tan, spokesperson of the local inter-agency task force against COVID-19, said there were no new suspected cases as of Thursday. In a live-streamed interview, Ms. Tan also said they have already coordinated with all hotel and accommodation facilities for the implementation of preventive measures such as requiring all guests to fill-up a health declaration card for easier monitoring and tracking. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo





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