GenSan seeks GCQ status to address growing number of COVID-19 cases

GENERAL SANTOS CITY- The local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) against COVID-19 has asked its regional counterpart to place the city under the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) from its present modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) amid the increasing number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, and seven deaths.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera urged the regional IATF to consider the resolution of the local IATF to place the city under GCQ in a bid to contain the local transmission of the virus that has translated into the recording of 100 confirmed cases.

Rivera stressed that stricter border quarantine protocols will be implemented under GCQ status wherein non-residents of the city will be barred from entering the city except for emergency medical purposes and food suppliers.

The RIATF, chaired by Sultan Kudarat Gov. Teng Mangudadatu, has already endorsed the resolution of the local IATF to the national IATF chaired by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

The local IATF is asking that the city be placed under GCQ from September 13 to September 27.

Lorenzana is expected to arrive here on September 17 to assess the situation on COVID-19 response, following the surge in local transmission the past weeks, which was traced to workers at the city’s fish port who tested positive for COVID-19.   

Rivera has also issued an executive order, which directed local private hospitals to stop the admission of COVID-19 patients from neighboring provinces of Sarangani and South Cotabato, so as not to overburden the health care facilities of local hospitals which cater to COVID-19 patients.

The city has reported more than 100 COVID-19 confirmed cases, while the active cases were pegged at 75, with 40 currently admitted at the city government-run Jorge P. Royeca Hospital and four other private hospitals.

Dr, Ryan Aplicador, administrator of the Jorge P. Royeca Hospital, said the city government wanted to prioritize the admission of city residents infected by COVID-19 to local hospitals, as other COVID-19 patients from neighboring areas have flocked to local hospitals for treatment.

He said that the total occupancy of COVID isolation facilities of local hospitals has already reached 70 percent, which has to be managed properly to prioritize the medical needs of local residents who might be infected by the virus.

He also expressed concern on the lack of medical personnel at the city government hospital facility.

He stressed that medical personnel were already overburdened with work at the hospital.

He said under the directive Rivera, ambulance vehicles from hospitals outside of the city should secure a referral from the receiving hospital in the city before they will be allowed entry in the city.