Mayor Felipe Remollo of Dumaguete City, the provincial capital of Negros Oriental, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, May 23, a day before President Rodrigo Duterte visits the city to preside over a security meeting.
In a statement dated Sunday but posted Monday, May 24, on Dumaguete City’s official Facebook page, the mayor said he is “asymptomatic” and has isolated himself.
Remollo said he took an RT-PCR test “as a requirement for attendance in the National Peace and Order Council to be presided over by President Rodrigo Duterte on May 24, 2021, and hosted by the City of Dumaguete.”
Despite the news, Remollo said Duterte’s meeting in Dumaguete will push through on Monday.
The mayor also assured residents that “regular functions of government will continue in my physical absence as I will still be working while in isolation.”
“COVID-19 is by far the most treacherous of all viruses. It unwittingly strikes when one is in the company of friends, family, and coworkers. I pray to God to keep everyone safe and those similarly afflicted to recover soon,” the mayor’s statement read.
The announcement came as Dumaguete and the province of Negros Oriental battle a surge in new COVID-19 cases.
Dumaguete City recorded the most number of active cases in Negros Oriental at 184 out of the province’s 709, according to the provincial government’s May 21 report. According to the Department of Health’s regional office, Negros Oriental had the most number of active COVID cases in Central Visayas as of May 23.
The Negros Oriental Medical Society and the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP)-Negros Oriental Chapter had already urged the government to declare enhanced community quarantine in the whole province before the healthcare system “collapses.”
“The past few weeks have been overwhelming for those of us in the healthcare sector in Negros Oriental. We have reported highs in positive cases on consecutive days last week with 204 cases just last Friday, May 21, 2021,” said the PCP-Negros Oriental Chapter in a statement released Sunday, May 23.
As of May 21, three hospitals in Dumaguete City had reached full capacity for their COVID-19 beds. – Rappler.com