Bacolod City – Acting Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer yesterday ordered the limited operation of the Provincial Capitol for five days, after 21 of its employees, including Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, tested positive for COVID-19.
In his issued memorandum, Ferrer said the limited operation of Provincial Capitol aimed at breaking the transmission of COVID-19 virus among provincial government employees.
The limited operation of Provincial Capitol starts January 24 until the 28th.
All provincial government departments will have to maintain a skeleton workforce, while provincial government-managed hospitals and offices delivering health services and disaster response are to remain fully operational to ensure also the continuity of the delivery of services to the public, he added.
Lacson, who is now on 10-day isolation, is doing well and resting, according to Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz.
The Provincial Health Office has recommended of placing the Provincial Capitol Building under temporary lockdown, after it noted a marked increase in COVID-19 positive cases in the past weeks, among Capitol offices.
Of the 21 Capitol employees infected by the virus, four each of them assigned at the Provincial Legal, and Planning and Development Offices, respectively, two cases Provincial Health and Treasurer’s offices, and one each from the offices of Governor, General Services, Public Information, Negros Occidental Language and IT Center, Human Resource and Provincial Engineering offices, Sangguniang Panlalawigan and the Provincial Administrators Office.
The PHO also further observed that numerous Capitol employees have been exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and recommended for their immediate quarantine, considering that most of them live in Bacolod City, which currently has a high number of cases.
Ferrer ordered all Capitol department heads to monitor employees of their respective offices for any COVID-19 symptoms, and to immediately report it to the PHO if they are exhibiting symptoms, for immediate isolation, testing and quarantine.
COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental, excluding Bacolod City, rose to 2,006 as of yesterday, an increase of almost 1,000 cases, compared to 1,027, a week before.
On January 20, Lacson went on a three-day isolation, although he was non-reactive to antigen testing, after experiencing a sore throat. He, however, did not take chances, as he underwent RT-PCR testing, on January 22, after treatment for cough, and the results came out positive.
Prior to COVID-19 infection, Lacson led series of turnover of relief assistance to typhoon victims in Hinobaan, as well as financial assistance to rice farmers in Moises Padilla and Cauayan, all in Negros Occidental.
On the other hand, Mayor Nicholas Yulo extended the work from home arrangement of all Bago City Hall employees until January 25 due to increasing number of its workforce experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Regular work will resume on January 26, Yulo said, in the Bago City social media account.
The Bago City Hall and its annex building were closed last week for disinfection.
Meanwhile, the operation of Silay City Hall is expected to resume on January 24, after several days of disinfection of offices.
The temporary shutdown was triggered by sudden surge of COVID-19 cases among their employees. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)