By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday, March 27, said that it is closely monitoring the status of a division official who tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as well as other learners and personnel who are currently under quarantine after attending two of its biggest national events.
“The health and well-being of our teachers and learners being our highest priority, we will monitor the case closely and follow up on any further developments that may arise,” DepEd said in a statement following the reported case of a DepEd schools division official in Mandaluyong City who tested positive for the disease.
DepEd said that its central office has been “informed” that the COVID-19 positive schools division official has tested positive on March 25. “The patient is confined at a hospital and recovering,” the agency said.
Meanwhile, DepEd assured that the COVID-19 positive official is being taken care of. “Our field units have provided assistance for his hospitalization,” DepEd explained.
DepEd explained that within its community, the agency has checked on patient’s colleagues with whom he had close contact prior to hospitalization and “none of them has exhibited respiratory symptoms so far.”
The COVID-19 positive official has reportedly visited competition events at the National Festival of Talents (NFOT) held in Ilagan City, Isabela. From March 9 to 13, DepEd conducted two national events the NFOT and the National Schools Press Conference (NCPC), which was held in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
“As he visited some competition events at the NFOT, we also checked on updates of our precautionary home quarantine of NFOT and NSPC delegates,” DepEd said. “We are nearing the tail-end of the precautionary home quarantine, and overall we have monitored a small number of participants that were classified as PUIs but there is no link that can be established to the patient from Mandaluyong,” it added.
The two national events by DepEd gathered over 8,300 participants. Data released by DepEd showed that there were 5,134 participants to the NSPC and 3,191 participants to the NFOT.
“We remain hopeful that we will be able to clear the precautionary period without any further incident, in light of the heightened measures we adopted for the NSPC and NFOT,” DepEd said.
Meanwhile, DepEd assured that it had coordinated with the Department of Health (DOH). “No less than the Secretary of Health has instructed his staff to do an extensive contact tracing as it is still an imperative for an effective containment,” DepEd noted.