Misamis Oriental gov, other groups want Cagayan de Oro under lockdown

Bobby Lagsa
(2nd UPDATE) The group Luwas Cagayan, 26 barangay captains of Cagayan de Oro City, and the Misamis Oriental governor want an enhanced community quarantine imposed on the city

NIGHT PATROL. A City government worker disinfects one of the barangays in Cagayan de Oro City. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – An alliance of socio-political organizations called Luwas Cagayan (Save Cagayan) along with 26 barangay captains here have asked Mayor Oscar Moreno to declare an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Cagayan de Oro after 4 more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed.

As of Friday, May 8, Cagayan de Oro City has a total of 7 coronavirus cases.

The cases are in the following barangays: 3 in Camaman-an and 1 each in Lumbia, Bulua, Carmen and a numbered brgy. Four patients have died.

The village chiefs told Moreno that they preferred a stricter lockdown to curb the rise of COVID-19 cases. They also asked the city government to provide additional food relief once the ECQ is in place.

(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said all coronavirus cases in Cagayan de Oro City were in Barangay Puerto. This has been corrected.) 

“While city hall denies, Dr Dave Mendoza of DOH 10 (Northern Mindanao) confirmed that there is already a local transmission of COVID-19. This has been neglected by the city government in its daily press con along with DOH 10 Director Suba-an,” said Barangay Puerto Chairman Ian Achas.

Achas belitttled the efforts of the City Health Office, led by epidemiologist Dr Joselito Retuya, for the agency’s inability to trace the source of the local transmission of the disease.

 Achas also lambasted the city’s meager food response, saying that only few people received the 5 kilos of rice and some canned goods.

“This was distributed a few weeks ago and has not been followed up,” Achas said.

Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano on Thursday, May 7, also wrote a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte asking that his province and Cagayan de Oro be placed under ECQ.

In his letter, Emano said that his provincial government and the different local government units here have been exerting their best effort in responding to the crisis.

Emano said that the “continued unified efforts of the local leaders have resulted to a ZERO case of the disease in Misamis Oriental as of today.”

Emano said he was worried that, because Cagayan de Oro is in the middle of the province, this may lead to the spread of COVD-19 to the rest of the province. 

“With the number of positive cases now recorded in Cagayan de Oro City, (we) fear and worry the disease might spread across Misamis Oriental, (because) thousands still travel to and from the city,” Emano said. 

Meanwhile, 50 barangay captains in Cagayan de Oro called for the opposite – that GCQ be maintained in the city.

In a Liga ng mga Barangay position paper, the barangay chiefs said GCQ measures are sufficient, as long as they are strictly enforced and obeyed by citizens.

CDO situation

Meanwhile, Moreno said that, on his part, he would continue to abide by the guidelines set by the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

He would also focus on strengthening the city’s response through intensified contact tracing, isolation and quarantine, recovery model set by the National Action Plan on COVID-19.

Moreno brushed aside the letter of Emano and the request of the 26 barangay captains.

“I am looking at the whole picture and the welfare of everyone, I did not run to be popular,” Moreno said.

Department of Health Region 10 Director Adriano Suba-an said that the DOH already forwarded its recommendation to the Cagayan de Oro city government which is currenty under general community quartantine (GCQ).

Suba-an, however, confirmed there was already local transmission of COVID-19 in the city and 3 of the cases cannot be traced where they got the virus.

“We confirmed that we now have a local transmission in Cagayan de Oro right now. We have given our recommendation to the local government so we can strengthen our response to prevent the spread of the virus,” Suba-an said.

“We need to recalibrate our steps in detecting, isolation, treatment and recovery,” Suba-an said.

Basis for ECQ

Suba-an said that DOH Northern Mindanao was aware of the request of Governor Emano and other organizations to put the city under ECQ.

Suba-an said that there are 5 indicators that need to be studied to come up with an ECQ status. These are:

  • Health Indicator – considering critical care utilization rate and and case-doubling time
  • Health capacity
  • Social indicator 
  • Economic indicator
  • Security indicator

“Critical care indicator refers to the utilization of Intesive Care Unit equipment of Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), in terms of the use of the mechanical ventilators, occupancy rate of ICU and isolation beds. That is what we are monitoring and looking at because that will be one of the basis of to elevate from GCQ to ECQ,” Suba-an said.

NMMC Chief of Hospital Dr Jose Chan said that NMMC has 51 mechanical ventilators available. Just below 10 are now in use.

Dr Bernard Rocha, spokesman of the NMMC, said the health system is not yet overwhelmed. The Infection and Re-emerging Infectious Disease (IRID) unit of the hospital has 14 patients, but as of May 8, only one is for COVID-19.

Suba-an also asked the people to continue with the containment solutions.

“Containment – testing, isolating and quarantine and healing, recovery, regular handwashing, mask, cough etiquette, including environmental and community intervention,” Suba-an said.

The CHO, which conducts active house-to-house surveillance, had covered 70,662 households from April 1 to May 6. So far, it has documented 2,602 cases of influenza-like and acute respiratory cases and successfully treated 1,932. As of writing, 610 cases are still being treated and monitored.

The City Isolation Units, with an increased capacity of over 500 persons, houses new arrivals, including returning overseas Filipino workers

According to City Health Officer and Emergency Operation Center head Dr Lorraine Nery, the isolated facilities have 111 patients in different stages of their 14-day quarantine. – Rappler.com