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BUKIDNON, Philippines – The provincial government of Bukidnon declared the capitol grounds and other public places under its control off limits to prevent people from gathering there, in efforts to keep COVID-19 from spreading further.
Also temporarily closed to the public were the Kaamulan Park, a zoo, and a playground.
Acting provincial administrator Paul Vincent Villegas said all vendors have been barred from the capitol grounds.
He said only a lane for joggers would remain open to the public “for wellness purposes.”
Officials said the order, issued on January 25, would limit the movement of people, and thus help reduce the number of COVID-19 infections, many of which were blamed on crowding.
The capitol logged 1,334 active COVID-19 cases in Bukidnon as of Thursday morning, January 27.
The Department of Health (DOH) in Northern Mindanao, however, recorded 2,136 COVID-19 outpatients and no more patients still admitted to a hospital in the province as of Thursday.
DOH data also showed 297 newly documented COVID-19 infections in Bukidnon on the same day.
In neighboring Cagayan de Oro, Mayor Oscar Moreno said city hall was leveling up as frontline health workers anticipated more hospital admissions due to rising cases of infections in the city and elsewhere in Northern Mindanao.
Dr. Teodoro Yu Jr., a medical officer at the City Health Office, said: “We have to consider the rising COVID-19 cases from outside the city. Private hospitals in the city have committed to adding more hospital beds to augment the COVID-19 wards set up at the city-owned JR Borja General Hospital.”
Cagayan de Oro, the regional center of Northern Mindanao, has the most number of hospitals in the region. It is also host to the region’s primary COVID-19 referral hospital, the state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center.
The city’s two-week COVID-19 case growth rate, however, decelerated to 1,074% as of Monday, January 24, from the highest at 3,000% before January 20.
Cagayan de Oro’s COVID-19 average daily attack rate was 29.71% while its health care utilization rate reached 61.70%, just 10 percentage points away from the critical level, Moreno noted on Wednesday.
But Moreno said the number of COVID-19 cases in the city could drop soon based on the experience in the National Capital Region (NCR). – Rappler.com
Grace Cantal-Albasin is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship