Mabalacat COVID-19 cases rise as more Clark Freeport workers get infected

Infections in Mabalacat City here of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, swelled after several persons working inside the Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) were found to be positive.

In its health advisory on September 30, the Mabalacat City Health Office said that 17 of the new COVID-19 cases were individuals who worked inside the CFZ.

“There are 39 new cases, of which 6 were exposed in a construction site, 7 in call centers, 1 in a hotel, and 3 in another company all located inside Clark,” the advisory stated.

A day earlier, September 29, the city’s health office announced in its advisory on Facebook that 11 of the 22 new coronavirus cases were “workplace exposures in companies located inside Clark and nearby city.”

In its advisory on September 28, the city government said that 17 of the 22 new COVID-19 cases were "all working in a call center in Clark.”

On September 24, the Mabalacat City Health Office said that 4 of the 5 new cases worked in a call center inside the CFZ.

On September 23, the health office said that 28 of the 64 new COVID-19 cases in the last few days (that were not mentioned in previous advisories) were “call center agents of the same call center company in Clark.”

The city government also recorded 2 new COVID-19 cases on September 19 and 4 cases a day earlier who all worked inside the CFZ.

Prior to September 18, health advisories did not mention the location of the companies of workers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

On Thursday, October 1, the city’s health office said it recorded 39 new cases “who are all household contacts of COVID-19 confirmed cases.”

As of October 1, Mabalacat City recorded a total of 366 COVID-19 infections, 260 of them remain as active cases.

Nearby Angeles City had a caseload of 735 as of October 1.

While Angeles City did not mention in its Facebook health advisories the places of work of those who contracted the viral disease, comments of some netizens stated that the cases include those who work at companies in the free port.

Until September 19, the adjacent town of Magalang cited several new COVID-19 infections of those who worked in CFZ-based companies. The advisories the next day though, no longer mentioned locations. Instead the health bulletins described them as “employees of companies outside the municipality who were exposed to confirmed co-workers.”

Most of the employees of business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in Clark reside in cities and towns of Pampanga, including Magalang town which so far has 64 cases .

Tarlac province, which recorded 500 total COVID-19 cases as of Friday, October 2, also noted dozens of BPO workers who contracted the viral disease in work stations, though the exact locations of the companies were not mentioned in its Facebook posts. – Rappler.com