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52 new COVID-19 cases: Baguio’s single day record so far

/ 08:51 PM September 24, 2020

NEW ABNORMAL. Life in Baguio has become more relaxed as restrictions on movement eased with the reopening of businesses, including tourism in October. But everyone needs to be masked and work or shop a meter apart from each other until a cure for the coronavirus becomes available to everyone. PHOTO BY EV ESPIRITU

BAGUIO CITY—The number of coronavirus infections in the summer capital continued to rise with 52 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday (Sept. 24) alone, the highest single day record so far in the city.

Sixteen of the new patients reside in a neighborhood near the city abattoir which was again closed for disinfection, this time until Oct. 9, because of a COVID-19 outbreak that was detected there last week.

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Mayor Benjamin Magalong also closed the livestock market for pigs and goats, while abattoir employees undergo quarantine and treatment.

Since Aug. 12, infection cases in Baguio have spiked due to the accelerated testing of high risk sectors as well as public workplaces like banks and groceries.

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The outbreak near the abattoir and another village occurred two days before Baguio and the Ilocos Region launched the Ridge and Reef travel corridor on Sept. 22. This initiative allows city and Ilocos residents to travel exclusively to beaches or nature parks within these territories during the pandemic.

The new infections raised the number of active cases to 269, and the total number of patients treated for COVID-19 since March to 681.

The increase was anticipated, however.

“We expect more cases because we did around 3,000 tests from Sept. 17-19… and looking at the positivity rate, we may get 90-100 patients when results come out,” said Magalong at a Sept. 21 meeting with city managers.

Most of the patients were located by contact tracing teams, “and tests are done at the right time,” said Dr. Donnabel Tubera-Panes, chief of the city’s infectious disease office, during that meeting.

Some of the cases last week were attributed to suspected carriers who went into hiding. Others were being blamed on an unauthorized birthday gathering and a subsequent drinking spree.

Instead of a city-wide liquor ban, Magalong said he may apply a street-level prohibition on the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages in the outbreak areas so as not to disrupt food businesses as Baguio eases into a “new normal.” The mayor said distributors lose P1-million a day under a blanket liquor ban.

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TAGS: #COVID19PH, Baguio City, contact tracing, Coronavirus, Magalong, pandemic, Patients, Regions, Summer Capital, testing, transmission
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