Mining areas account for most of 93 COVID-19 cases in Benguet

Published October 23, 2020, 12:38 PM

by Zaldy Comanda

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The highland province of Benguet recorded its  highest single-day number of new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) of 93 on Thursday, October 22, mostly coming from mining areas.

The Provincial Health Office (PHO) said, 74 were reported from the mining town of Itogon, 14 in La Trinidad, two each from Tuba and Buguias, and one from Sablan.

Small scale miners were among those affected in Itogon, with 48 coming from in Balatoc, Virac; 23 from Sangilo, Poblacion; and three from Eastern Saddle, Ampucao.

In a Facebook post, Itogon Mayor Victor Palangdan said these areas were mainly mining areas, which he has already placed on lockdown for disinfection contact tracing.

“We highly suspect that transmission happened inside bunkhouses of several mining companies since infected individuals were mostly workers, or miners with their family members living with them,” Palangdan noted.

Palangdan said the lockdown would concentrate on the infected bunkhouses, and will be implemented by their respective barangay officials and mining companies.

The Municipal Health Service Office (MHSO) is expediting contact tracing for isolation and swab testing in these areas.

Benguet Governor Melchor Diclas has called for an emergency meeting on Friday with officials of the Provincial Health Office (PHO) and Department of Health (DOH) in Cordillera to determine how this sudden surge in COVID-19 cases could be contained.

The PHO also reported one fatality of COVID-19 in Buguias town, a 67 year old male, who had electrolyte imbalance and diabetes.

Benguet province now has a total of 714 confirmed cases, with 327 active cases, 378 recoveries, and nine deaths.