Authorities on their toes over Covid-19, dengue  

Health authorities in Iloilo and Negros Occidental are on alert as cases of Covid-19 and dengue continue to spiral in the past week.

Dengue casualties in Iloilo province climbed to nine, as cases continue to spike in the province.

Based on the data from the Iloilo Provincial Health Office, three new deaths were logged in the province as of July 2.

The three new deaths are from Sta. Barbara (1), Barotac Viejo (1), and Dumangas (1).

The other dengue fatalities were from Guimbal (2), Miagao (1), Cabatuan (1), Igbaras (1), and Leganes (1).

From January 1 to July 2, Iloilo province logged a total of 832 dengue cases which is 296% higher compared to the only 210 dengue cases recorded last year.

The town of San Joaquin recorded the highest number of dengue cases at 140, followed by Guimbal (76), Tubungan (77), Miagao (51), and Oton (48).

On the other hand, the town of Banate logged 37 cases while the town of Pototan logged 30 cases followed by Estancia at 27 cases, Tigbauan at 25 cases, and Dueñas with 22 cases. Other towns recorded less than 20 dengue cases.

Only the town of San Rafael remained dengue-free.

Due to the rising dengue cases, the Iloilo Provincial Health Office appealed to the public to be vigilant and act on the increasing cases by destroying the breeding places of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

“Please let us not take dengue for granted. Now that we are aware, please act on it, search and destroy breeding places. If with high grade fever, consult or seek early treatment,” they said in a statement.

In Negros Occidental, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang said the province has yet to reach the dengue epidemic threshold amid the increasing number of cases in the province.

“We are still on the alert level threshold,” Tumimbang said.

But the town of Hinigaran was reported to have reached the epidemic level in previous weeks.

As of July 2, the Provincial Health Office reported that dengue cases in Negros Occidental totaled 1,800 from January 1 to July 2, 2022, way higher compared to 218 cases for the same period last year.

The latest data indicates a 725.69 percent increase, according to a Dengue Fever Surveillance Report of the Provincial Health Office.

The top 10 local government units in terms of dengue cases are Himamaylan City, Kabankalan City, Hinigaran, San Carlos City, La Carlota City, Binalbagan, Bago City, Cadiz City, Pontevedra and Cauayan.

Tumimbang also noted an increase in admission of patients suffering from “mild” dengue cases in hospitals.

At the same time, the total attack rate for the province is 69.1 cases per 100,000 of the total population, with La Carlota City recording the highest attack rate of 19.7 cases per 100,000.

Pontevedra recorded highest increase in percentage of dengue cases at 7,300 percent, while the highest reduction in cases was reported in Victorias City at 11.76 percent.

Deaths also increased from three last year to 10 this year.

Tumimbang attributed the decrease in dengue cases in Hinigaran to simultaneous fogging and larvicidal operations, supported by clean up drives every Friday of the week.

He, however, discourages fogging operations in areas still at the dengue alert level.


Tumimbang said that his office is closely monitoring the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Iloilo, citing that the borders between the two provinces remains open to fast craft and roll on-roll off or RORO vessels.

Tumimbang said that should the daily COVID-19 positive cases in Negros Occidental reach double digits, “then we will assess if there is a need to close borders of Negros Occidental, especially in areas where cases are increasing.”

He also said that unvaccinated travelers entering the Bacolod–Silay airport are being subjected to rapid antigen testing, while the city government is taking charge of the ports of Bacolod City.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson earlier ruled out the closure of Negros Occidental borders amid surging COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and Iloilo.

As of July 8, Lacson reported that Negros Occidental has already fully vaccinated 64 percent of the targeted population, although it has a very low output in the inoculation of senior citizens.

He said that Negros Occidental remains under Alert Level 2, not because of the existing active COVID-19 cases, but because of the poor performance of its vaccination program.

The governor lamented that vaccination percentage is still low among senior citizens.

He also said that while there are incentives for Barangay Health Workers, some local government units LGUs still have poor vaccination rate record.

“If we want to join the rest to Alert Level 1, we need to do our share and the LGUs that are not doing well must find a way to convince certain sectors in their community who remain ‘hard-headed’ to get vaccinated,” the governor said.

The Department of Health-Western Visayas reported on July 10 that Iloilo City has 56 new COVID-19 cases and 55 in Iloilo province.

Negros Occidental has 7 new cases and 14 in Bacolod City, DOH-WV reports added. (Dolly Yasa/DG)