Negros Oriental cops to enforce quarantine of students during class suspension

Marchel P. Espina
Negros Oriental cops to enforce quarantine of students during class suspension
The governor of Negros Oriental issues the order a day after it reports the province's first confirmed case of COVID-19

NEGROS ORIENTAL, Philippines – Governor Roel Degamo of this province directed the Philippine National Police to make sure all public school students will stay home during a five-day suspension of classes in an bid to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The governor ordered the suspension of classes at all levels of public schools from March 13 to 17.

Degamo’s executive order was signed Thursday, March 12, a day after the provincial government reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. 

The patient was a 64-year-old councilor from Tayasan town, who travelled to Manila from February 26 to March 1 for a three-day convention.

March 17 is the 14th day of the quarantine period of the last contact of the virus-stricken councilor, Degamo said.

The governor noted in his order that the national government has already reported the rise of locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 in the country and that President Rodrigo Duterte has  declared a state of a public health emergency.

For private schools, the suspension of classes is under the discretion of the school administrators, Bimbo Miraflor, provincial public information officer, said.

For Negros Oriental, aside from the confirmed case, 3 persons are still under investigation, while 20 persons are under monitoring, he said.

He said the three PUIs are improving, while the 20 PUMs have a travel history in Hong Kong, China, and South Korea.

Commitment

Miraflor said that provincial officials also met with the administrators of the 3 private hospitals and one public hospital in the province on Thursday, March 12.

During the meeting, the hospitals committed to help the provincial government in case there will be a surge of patients, he said. The hospitals committed around 60 beds should there be additional cases, he added.

Hospital officials of Silliman University Medical Center and ACE Dumaguete Doctors Hospital have also talked regarding the alleged non-disclosure of the condition of the confirmed patient by the latter.

Miraflor said, “there was a shaking of hand after and they are all professionals.”

In a statement on Thursday, ACE Dumaguete Doctors said that on the dawn of March 10, the patient deteriorated and that his family insisted he be transferred to another healthcare institution.

The statement said they communicated with various medical personnel of the other healthcare institution to facilitate the transfer, adding that ACE Dumaguete Doctors did not hide anything when the patient was transferred.

It added that before the result of the throat swab was released, the hospital has already taken all measures and followed the Department of Health guidelines and protocol to isolate, contain the spread, and limit exposure to its health workers.

“It is understandable that this incident has created fear and anxiety among Dumagueteneous and Negrenses. Moving forward, ACE Dumaguete Doctors would like to assure the public that we will continue to strictly adhere with DOH guidelines and protocol regarding patient care,” the statement said. – Rappler.com

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