By Hannah Torregoza
A staff member in the office of Senator Pia Cayetano has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, bringing the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the Senate to four.
Myra Marie Villarica, Senate Secretary, said in a statement that the patient has no recent travel history and that her infection was traced to a person close to her family.
Villarica said the staff member reported for work on March 11, the last day of the regular session of Congress, but did not go to the Senate plenary hall.
According to Villarica, the patient did not manifest any of the symptoms of COVID-19 then. It was only after March 11 that she exhibited mild symptoms.
The lawyer said neither the patient nor the staff members who were in direct contact with her were required to report for the special session on March 23.
“Rest assured that all measures are being undertaken by the Senate administration and the Senator Cayetano’s office to address the needs of the patient,” Villarica said.
“The Senate medical team, following protocols, has been informed and instructed to begin contact tracing, impose quarantine measures and give assistance in the testing of our employees as needed,” she said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III has again enjoined all employees to follow the national and local government guidelines on the enhanced community quarantine, including social distancing and to give an honest reporting of one’s medical condition should any of them show any symptoms of COVID-19, according to Villarica.
“We need to rise above this extraordinary situation. Let us all be more patient, calm, prayerful and informed,” Villarica said.
Earlier, Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 making him the third senator to contract the disease.
Two other senators who also confirmed positive for COVID-19 are Senators Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.