DOH tags 2 Benguet towns ‘critical epidemic-risk’ areas | Inquirer News

DOH tags 2 Benguet towns ‘critical epidemic-risk’ areas

/ 05:04 AM October 31, 2020

BAGUIO CITY—The mining towns of Itogon and Tuba in Benguet province have been classified as “critical epidemic-risk” areas due to the rapid rise of coronavirus infections there since Oct. 22.

Immediate contact tracing was launched at a mine company’s bunkhouses last week when some employees tested positive for the virus, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

Itogon, host to mines of Benguet Corp. and Itogon-Suyoc Mining Inc., reflected a 600-percent infection “growth change” from 21 patients on Oct. 10 to 147 on Oct. 24, said Albert Mogol, chair of the Cordillera disaster risk reduction and management council (CDRRMC).


The Padcal operations of gold producer Philex Mining Corp. in Itogon and Tuba reflected a 700-percent increase from seven patients on Oct. 10 to 56 on Oct. 24, said Mogol, who is also regional director of the Office of Civil Defense.


The spread of the disease was traced to bunkhouses where a clustering of cases had occurred, said the CDRRMC.

The council had earlier activated and deployed regional incident management teams to the towns to help local governments contain the virus.

The Benguet health office recorded a fatality in Itogon but did not say if the patient was a mine worker.

So far, the province has listed 13 deaths from the coronavirus.

1,000 mark breached

Another mining town, Mankayan, had been classified as a “high epidemic-risk” area when cases there reached 11 on Oct. 24. But there were no indications that these were mine-related.

The outbreak caused Benguet’s total number of infections to breach the 1,000 mark with 1,026 from March to Oct. 26, including 528 patients being treated in the province’s hospitals.


The transmissions at mining communities resulted in a record single-day infection of 93 cases in Benguet on Oct. 22, including 74 in Itogon. —REPORTS FROM KIMBERLIE QUITASOL AND VINCENT CABREZA

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TAGS: Benguet, COVID-19, Itogon, Tuba

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