COVID-19 cases in Neg. Occ. on the rise too

By Dolly Yasa


BACOLOD City – Coronavirus diseases 2019 or COVID-19 cases are rising not only in this city but in the province of Negros Occidental as well.

The Provincial Incident Management Team reported a surge in COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental from 58 in February to 232 as of March 18.

The PIMT report indicated that Don Salvador Benedicto and Candoni remain COVID-free with zero active cases, while La Carlota has the highest number of active cases at 28, followed by San Carlos City with 24.

Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said among the 232 total active cases, 157 are Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), 26 are Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs), and five are Returning Overseas Filipinos workers.

Diaz said the increase in active cases is due to voluntary RT-PCR testing and quarantine offered by the provincial government of Negros Occidental to returning Negrenses.

Based on the resolution issued by the National Inter Agency Task Force, Negros Occidental is no longer allowed to subject travelers to a RT-PCR testing and quarantine upon entering the province.

This prompted Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson to issue an executive order on March 13 requiring travelers to secure negative RT-PCR test results 72 hours prior to their arrival in the province, and registration with S-Pass and StaySafe apps systems while enjoining local government units to comply with the NIATF resolution.

Diaz said that during the four-day transition period, they eased up the implementation of the governor’s executive order for humanitarian considerations due to the limited time for passengers to secure negative RT-PCR test results.

He further said that they started implementing the latest EO on March 18.

Diaz said that they will no longer allow travelers entering the province without a negative RT-PCR test results.

“We still have to be very careful because of the spike in Manila and other parts of Luzon,” Diaz said adding that residents of Western Visayas travelling within the region are not covered by the requirements.

With the surge in COVID-19 active cases in Manila and Cebu, a travel moratorium from Manila and other areas to Negros Occidental will be implemented by the provincial government if its quarantine facilities become full of COVID-19 positive occupants and unmanageable like what happened last year, Diaz further said.

He also said that if the occupancy of quarantine facilities reaches 80 percent “we will be slowing down in accepting travelers returning to the province.”

“We also don’t want our hospitals to be filled with moderate and serious cases of COVID-19,” Diaz said.

Earlier, Bacolod City Administrator Em Ang urged the public to continue wearing face masks, face shields, and observe safe distancing to avoid contracting the virus as she expressed concern on the increase of Covid-19 cases in the city.

Data from the Bacolod Public Information Office indicated that from a single digit rise in cases in the past weeks, the city logged 25 new cases with one death on March 17, 2021.

The 25 cases include 17 local cases, 7 authorized persons outside residence, and a locally stranded individual.

The city now has 5,881 cases (81 active, 5,614 recoveries, and 186 deaths).

“For the past weeks, COVID-19 cases recorded is of single digit and there are times where there was zero new case at all,” Ang said.

She urged the public not to be complacent and strictly observe health protocols.