ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines – Governor Wilter Palma suspended vaccination services at the capitol as he ordered frontline health workers there to be isolated and tested after a Provincial Health Office doctor contracted the virus.
The capitol will open its doors again on Monday, January 24, after it locked down on Tuesday, January 18, to allow its offices and facilities to be disinfected.
Palma’s order came ahead of the COVID-19 interagency task force’s (IATF) decision on Friday, January 21, to add the province to its list of areas under the stricter Alert Level 3 category until the end of January.
Palma also had the services of the vaccination center in the capitol premises suspended for a week because a doctor assigned there tested positive for COVID-19.
The public health workers there who have had close contact with the doctor were ordered isolated and tested.
At least 50 of the capitol’s approximately 700 workers were assigned at the vaccination site.
At least 19 people in Zamboanga Sibugay have recently been tested on suspicion that they contracted COVID-19. The results have yet to be released.
Palma said the vaccination services will continue on Tuesday, January 25, or a day after work at the capitol resumes.
Zamboanga Sibugay has so far seen a 1,188% increase in the number of its active COVID-19 cases this month.
The province counted only nine active cases on New Year’s Day. With 34 newly detected infections, it rose to 116 the same day that the IATF placed the province under Alert Level 3.
But if it’s any consolation, Zamboanga Sibugay’s hospital bed utilization rate remained low, according to Dr. Said Sahi, acting chief of the Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Hospital.
As of Friday, only five COVID-19 patients were confined in the government hospital. – Rappler.com
Antonio Manaytay is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.