Quezon province logs highest single day tally in 2023 with 39 new COVID-19 cases
LUCENA CITY — Quezon province on Tuesday logged 39 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day tally this year, which indicates a continued rise in the number of infected patients, the provincial health authorities reported.
The Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) revealed that 29 of 41 towns in the province have active virus carriers, compared to only one town on April 7.
Tayabas City is on top of the list with 23 active COVID-19 cases, followed by neighboring Lucena City with 15.
The IPHO reported that as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16, Quezon had 159 active cases compared to only one on April 7.
At least 30 of the infected patients, two of them “severe and critical,” have been admitted to several hospitals.
The IPHO has recorded 332 new COVID-19 cases and three fatalities since the start of the month.
The rise in cases was sharp, as the province logged only 76 new infections last month, 13 in March, 15 in February, and 92 in January.”
Dr. Kristin Mae-Jean Villaseñor, Quezon provincial health office chief, clarified that the three listed COVID-19 fatalities this month “died from other illnesses.”
“It was only incidental that they were tested COVID-19 positive,” she said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
Villaseñor attributed the increase in the number of active COVID-19 cases in the province to the complacency of the public toward coronavirus and the staging of Maytime festivals.
“Mainly due to the non-wearing of face masks in public places and yes, partly with the staging of festivals this May,” Villaseñor said.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Executive Order (EO) No. 7 in October last year, allowing the optional face mask use in indoor and outdoor settings.
However, Villaseñor emphasized that as the month of May started, their office called for a meeting with all members of the Inter-Agency Task Force, local health officers and concerned provincial offices to prepare for the safe staging of Maytime festivals and other summer events.
She lamented that the carefree attitude of the public toward COVID-19 still prevails despite the continuous advisories and warnings of the authorities on all forms of media platforms.
Villaseñor also cited the availability of testing kits to the public as a factor in the rise in the recorded number of new COVID-19-infected patients.
Villaseñor appealed to the public to continue observing COVID-19 safety protocols, such as wearing face masks, isolating oneself when sick, getting vaccinated with a booster dose, and staying in areas with good air ventilation.
On May 15, four crowd-drawing annual festivals — “Pahiyas” in Lucban town, “Agawan” in Sariaya, “Mayohan” in Tayabas City, and “Araña’t Baluarte” in Gumaca — were held on the feast of San Isidro de Labrador as a tribute to the patron saint of peasants.
This year, the four towns started staging their festivals last week, with other events to attract more tourists after the cancelation of the events in 2020 and 2021 due to restrictions on large gatherings during the pandemic.
Last year, the four local governments staged the events but with some precautionary measures as COVID-19 was still classified as a threat, particularly in crowded places.
Other towns across the province also held their respective festivals this month after three years of restrictions due to the pandemic.
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