Massive testing yields 268 COVID-19 cases in Negros
BACOLOD CITY — At least 220 residents of this city and 48 from other areas in Negros Occidental came out positive for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during tests conducted last week.
Provincial administrator Rayfrando Diaz said more swab test results, taken during a period called “timeout weekend” where quarantine measures were tightened, would be released in the coming days.
The massive testing held from Aug. 28 to Aug. 31 aimed to test and isolate individuals who contracted the virus. Specimens were taken from 6,294 residents from the cities of Bacolod, Talisay, Silay and Bago, and the town of Murcia.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, chair of the National Task Force on COVID-19, granted the request of Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson for a moratorium on inbound air and sea travel to Negros Occidental from Sept. 1 to Sept. 7 due to rising cases in the province.
Lacson said all quarantine centers in Negros Occidental were used to accommodate the people who were positive in the recent testing.
“Because of that, there will be no adequate quarantine facilities ready to hold returning Negrense overseas Filipino workers and locally stranded individuals,” he said.
Bishop Patricio Buzon also suspended the celebration of public Masses in all Catholic churches in Bacolod from Sept. 3 to Sept. 15 to help bring down the number of coronavirus cases.
Funeral masses and other celebrations of the sacraments will continue, provided that only 10 people will participate and existing health protocols are strictly observed.
“This is in answer to the continuing plea for help from front-liners given the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and an overwhelmed local health-care sector,” Buzon said.
From Sept. 6 to Sept. 19, Bacolod residents will be required to present quarantine passes once they leave home for essential errands. Checkpoints will be set up during this period.
In a meeting on Aug. 30, medical groups asked local officials to implement a two-week restriction in the movement of people in Bacolod.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the quarantine passes and checkpoints would regulate the movement of people within the city in order to contain the spread of the virus.
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