After-work parties, gatherings blamed for COVID-19 spike in Davao City
DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — Gatherings after work hours and celebrations of special occasions have contributed to the increase in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the city, which registered a 60-percent spike in two weeks.
Dr. Lenny Joy Rivera, assistant director of the Department of Health (DOH) in Davao region, said the agency’s contact investigation showed that transmission had been traced to “gatherings, the (recent opening of) workplaces and events after work, weddings, birthday parties and other special occasions.”
Rivera cited one incident when a person who attended a party contracted COVID-19. Of the 27 people that the partygoer had close contact with, 18, including family members, tested positive for the disease.
City authorities saw a spike in cases when the lockdown was lifted and malls and workplaces were opened. This prompted Mayor Sara Duterte to reimpose the 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew starting Oct. 15, to encourage people to stay at home and prevent them from going out at certain hours at night.
“Data as of Oct. 15 showed a current 60.10-percent growth in Davao City’s COVID-19 cases in two weeks,” Rivera said in a virtual press conference last week. “This two-week growth was even higher than the 43.60-percent growth seen in the previous two weeks.”
A check with the city’s COVID-19 bulletin on Oct. 17 showed a total of 570 active cases, representing a 74-percent increase from the 327 active cases monitored on Oct. 1.
In Cotabato province, Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said a parish priest in Matalam town had tested positive for COVID-19, prompting at least 30 priests who had been in contact with him to isolate themselves starting Monday.
The priest had been isolated and is in stable condition, Bagaforo said in a local radio interview.
The bishop said the priest suspected that he contracted the virus during a recent birthday party he attended in Matalam, but it was uncertain how and from whom he got the virus.
Bagaforo said three more priests who had direct and close contact with the COVID-19-positive priest would undergo testing on Tuesday.
Last month, Fr. Angel Buenavides of the Diocesan Clergy of Marbel in South Cotabato recovered from the disease and had started a fund drive to raise money for people suffering from it.
Buenavides, the vicar general and spokesperson for the Diocese of Marbel, said he experienced how hard it was to be isolated for 14 days. “Nobody cares for you and you have no one to talk to,” he said. “The situation will not be that (bad) for COVID-19 patients if we extend simple help for them.”
The church official urged people to donate cash, food, fruits, reading materials and other basic needs for patients with COVID-19.
“Any assistance to keep them busy while inside the isolation (center) will be of great help,” he said.
—Reports from Judy Quiros, Edwin Fernandez and Williamor Magbanua
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