COVID-19 Regional Updates (03/11/20)

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Pangasinan brings ban on gatherings to barangay level

THE PANGASINAN provincial board has passed a resolution ordering village leaders along with the youth representatives to suspend “activities that could draw crowd in their respective localities” to avoid potential community transmission of the new coronavirus disease known as COVID-19. The ban includes barangay fiestas and Sangguniang Kabataan activities, which are mostly scheduled during the summer vacation months of March to May. “The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) is calling on all local government units more particularly Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials to be united in helping the national and provincial governments to combat the acute respiratory diseases by suspending activities that could draw crowd in their respective localities,” reads the resolution authored by Board Member Jose G. Peralta, who heads the Liga ng mga Barangay Provincial Federation. Governor Amado I. Espino III has earlier ordered the cancellation of all provincial government-organized events and urged local government units to do the same. Meanwhile, Department of Health (DoH) Ilocos Region Director Valeriano Lopez said on Wednesday that none of the people who came into contact with the COVID-19-positive patient from Australia have so far shown symptoms of the disease. The Filipino-Australian visited the province for a school reunion and was confirmed with the virus upon her return to Australia.

WVMC seeks accreditation as COVID-19 test center

THE WESTERN Visayas Medical Center (WVMC), located in Iloilo City, has applied to be accredited as one of the test centers in the country for the coronavirus disease, formally named COVID-19. “We are still waiting for the results of their evaluation until now. We want to know if the WVMC is capable to serve as a testing center. We hope it will be approved,” said Roland Jay Fortuna, focal person of the Iloilo City COVID-19 Task Force. He noted that there is no diagnostic center yet for the new virus in the Western Visayas Region. The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), with assistance from the World Health Organization, has so far been capacitating five subnational laboratories, namely: San Lazaro Hospital and Lung Center of the Philippines in Manila; Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center in northern Luzon; Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City; and the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. “Unlike dengue when we had an ample supply of test kits because these are just easy test kits, however for COVID-19, the testing facilities are being accredited by the RITM and now we only have five (in the country),” he said.


As of March 11, there is one patient within the region admitted in hospital for observation of the disease, based on the Department of Health (DoH) tracker. The Iloilo City government, meanwhile, is monitoring 82 persons, mostly overseas Filipino workers who have recent travel history from countries with confirmed COVID-19 cases. “They are considered PUMs (persons under monitoring). We are asking them to go on (home) quarantine and once they exhibit signs and symptoms, then they will be referred to the proper hospital,” Mayor Jerry P. Treñas told the media. Mr. Treñas also appealed to the DoH to send test kits to the region for faster diagnosis. “I am speaking for the rest of Western Visayas. We don’t have any test kits here. I am speaking to the DoH, and I think it is your responsibility to provide test kits to all the regions. We in the LGUs (local government units) are doing our job and the DoH should do the same, it is a matter of right,” said the mayor of Iloilo, which serves as the regional center. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo

Cagayan de Oro gov’t to purchase thermal scanner, calls on private establishments to get non-contact thermometers

THE CAGAYAN de Oro City government is set to purchase a thermal scanner in addition to the 50 non-contact thermometers it has already acquired and being used in local offices, according to City Health Insurance Officer William Bernardo. The local government has also called for a city-wide adoption of the body temperature check policy as a preventive measure against the coronavirus disease. “We encourage other institutions, establishments and schools to do the same,” it said in a statement. City Health Office head Lorraine J. Nery said they are also expanding their training for infection control to include not just health workers but other agencies such as the police.