By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY—Close to 70 Cebu City Hall workers, who are in the front lines in the campaign against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), have been infected with the virus.
Lawyer Rey Gealon, city legal counsel and spokesperson of mayor Edgardo Labella, revealed yesterday, Tuesday, that 67 City Hall workers tested positive for COVID-19.
Gealon said four city government workers have already succumbed to COVID-19, including city councilor and former congressman Antonio Cuenco.
The other fatalities were identified as Crisanto Amper, sanitary inspector of the Cebu City Health Department; Danilo Gabiana of the Department of Social Welfare Services and Mamily Garcia, a barangay health worker.
The former officer-in-charge of the City Treasurer’s Office Arlene Rentuza died last Monday, but it was not immediately known if her death was COVID-19-related, said Gealon.
As of Tuesday, the city has reported 5,141 confirmed cases with 2,259 active cases, Gealon said.
The city logged 2,713 recoveries with 169 deaths.
Gealon said there were 12 City Health workers, 19 ambulance service personnel and 36 barangay health workers who tested positive for the virus.
“Those who got infected with the virus were working in the frontlines. They were the ones who conducted swab or rapid testing and contact tracing,” said Gealon.
Gealon said strict quarantine protocols were being observed in City Hall offices to protect the employees from the virus.
“We have equipped the offices with disinfectants and physical distancing is also being observed. We have also provided our workers with personal protective equipment,” said Gealon.
The City Hall has also implemented a work-from-home scheme, while workers who are already senior citizens and those with prevailing illnesses were no longer asked to report for work.
The city will help the workers infected with the virus shoulder their hospital bills through the City Hospitalization and Medicine Program (CHAMP).
From P40,000, CHAMP has increased its financial assistance to P50,000 per patient, said Gealon.
“The city will also provide burial assistance to help ease the burden of the relatives of those who died due to COVID,” said Gealon.