DUMAGUETE CITY, Jan. 23 (PIA) -- Negros Oriental is catching up with Cebu City in terms of the number of active cases of COVID-19 infection.
Department of Health (DOH-7) Regional Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas confirmed this during the "Pagdu-aw Sa Negros Oriental: Explain, Explain, Explain" event conducted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Philippine Information angecy (PIA) here yesterday.
"Medyo nigukod na gyud ta sa City of Cebu sa active cases. Kung tan-awon nimo ang Cebu City, ang active cases 650. Ang Negros Oriental active cases 662 (Negros Oriental is catching up with Cebu City in terms of active COVID-19 cases. Cebu City has 650 while Negros Oriental's active cases is at 662)," Bernadas said, referring to DOH-7's data on COVID-19 cases in the region.
"Karon mga adlaw, past 2 to 3 weeks tungod sa holidays nakita nato ang kusog na pagsaka sa Cebu City ug giubanan sa Negros Oriental (In the past two to three weeks, we saw a sharp increase in cases in Cebu City and Negros Oriental)," he added.
The province's capital, Dumaguete City, registered the highest number of COVID-19 infection during the holiday season - from 101 cases as of Dec. 17, 2020 to 127 as of Jan. 15, 2021.
Meanwhile, DOH-7 also recorded an increasing trend of active COVID-19 infection in the province from September, October, November, and December last year.
The primary reason for this was the volume of incoming Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who came back home after being displaced amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another reason for this is the escalating cases of COVID-19 infection recorded in the local government units that are near or actually located in the province's borders such as Guihulngan City, Canlaon City, Basay, Bayawan City, Sta. Catalina, and La Libertad during that time.
With this, Bernadas renewed calls to Local Chief Executives (LCEs) to strengthen their strategies in preventing the spread of the virus, particularly their isolation, containment, and contact tracing measures.
"I-monitor gyud nato ang atong kaso labi na ang ma-identify na positive cases na sigurado sila ma-isolate ug atong contact tracing nga dapat pakabuhaton ug ato sad i-isolate ang close contact niini (We should strictly monitor our cases especially those that are positive. Make sure that they are completely isolated, conduct contact tracing, and ensure that their contacts are isolated as well)," Bernadas urged LCEs.
"Ang atong kaso nitaas, kinahanglan motaas sad ang atong capacity to address and admit our patients. Dili lang ang ICU kundi ang COVID beds, isolation beds. Ug ato sad i-emphasize ang atong temporary treatment and management facilities or isolation centers kay mao ra gyud ni ang importante na pagabuhaton (Our cases increased so we should also enhance our capacity to address and admit our patients. This does not only refer to ICUs but also our COVID beds, isolation beds, and temporary treatment or management facilities or isolation centers because this is the most important thing to do for now)," he explained.
Although the DOH saw no new cases recorded in some towns in the province like Mabinay, Siaton, and Pamplona over the past weeks, Bernadas emphasized that LGUs should not let their guards down.
The DOH-7 official also urged the public to religiously follow health protocols to avoid contracting the virus and reminded LGUs to strictly enforce these protocols.
Bernadas acknowledged that the government is balancing health and economy at this point, but underscored that the health sector is here to help them guide in their decision-making.
"My dear mayors, I know it has been a long time. The fight has already been protracted. We should try to live with the virus. Naa sa inyo ang pagbalanse. Ang amo sa health sector anaa ang amoang adbokasiya na ma-contain siya ug ma-control apan naa sa inyo ang decision to balance health and economy. Busa, kami mohatag ug giya (We, in the health sector, is here to advocate for the containment of this virus. The decision on how to balance health and economy is in your hands but we are here to guide you)," Bernadas told LCEs who attended the event. (ral/PIA7-NegOr)