By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson on Sunday said that the local government was closely monitoring a barangay in E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental, following reports of the first positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the province.
Lacson, in a press briefing at the Provincial Capitol, said that Barangay 2 in E.B. Magalona town will be the first village in the province declared as a “hot zone,” after a 41-year-old female-resident, with travel history to Manila and Davao, recently tested positive for COVID-19.
“In order to fortify the effort to protect the Negrosanons from the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial government has launched the Bantay Negrense Campaign,” the governor said. It stemmed from the recommendation of the Incident Management Team on COVID-19,” said Lacson.
Under the campaign, hot zones shall be declared in streets and barangays in the entire province wherein a COVID-19 positive patient resides, or from where a person under investigation (PUI), or at least five persons under monitoring (PUMs) have been officially declared.
According to Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, provincial health officer, once a barangay is declared as a hot zone, residents of the said village will not be allowed to go out, and nobody can also enter the area.
Tumimbang said that the municipal government will supply the residents with food while the entire province will be placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) starting March 30 to April 14.
He also said that security forces will also be deployed to that particular village to ensure the “stay at home” protocol of the authorities.
This developed as Lacson said that it was their pioneering strategy to promote and campaign public awareness to stay at home, avoid hot zones, and report suspected PUMs, PUIs, and also violators of the ECQ.
Meanwhile, Lacson said that the female patient was supposed to be discharged from the hospital on March 28 after her condition had already considerably improved.
He said they have requested for the second swab test but as a new protocol of the Department of Health (DOH), the repeated test should be done two weeks after the onset of the symptoms which will be on April 2. He said that the patient is recovering.
He said that contact tracing will follow. “We have to get information starting from the flights she took,” he added.
Lacon said that the patient traveled to Manila on March 1 and Davao City on March 6. She returned to the province on March 8 and traveled back to Manila, the following day, and came home on March 14.
The patient did not go home to her hometown, and underwent self quarantine while staying at a staff house.
On March 19, she started to feel feverish and four days later, she had cough and difficulty of breathing, prompting her to have herself admitted to a hospital. Lacson said that swab samples were taken on March 24.
As of March 28, the province has 19 pending swab test results from the Research of Tropical Medicine (RITM) and the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City, he said.