By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
A municipal councilor for Tayasan, Negros Oriental became the ninth fatality of the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, in the Philippines. Negros Oriental public information officer Bimbo Miraflor said the town official, identified as PH39 by the Department of Health (DOH), died at 11:09 a.m. at the Silliman University Medical Center in Dumaguete City.
The provincial official said they already contacted the deceased’s family, who were quarantined.
“After the patient was admitted to the hospital, they immediately went into self-quarantine,” he explained.
A statement from the Negros Oriental provincial government said the councilor may be considered “immunocompromised,” or having an impaired immune system, due to multi-organ involvement as he was a kidney transplant recipient.
Miraflor also said contact tracing was conducted for the 240 teachers and students that came into contact with the municipal official during a flag ceremony and graduation ceremony earlier this month.
The town councilor tested positive for Covid-19 last Wednesday.
The patient had also traveled to Manila on February 26 to attend the Philippine Councilors League national convention and, before returning to Tayasan on March 1, they visited Greenhills in San Juan City, Metro Manila.
The councilor was brought to a hospital on March 7 and tested on March 9.
Meanwhile, Miraflor denied earlier reports claiming the province will be temporarily closing its borders, noting, Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo affirmed there is “no lockdown and travel restrictions coming to and out of Negros Oriental.”
“We will implement stringent measures like composite checkpoints in every terminal to check on incoming passengers, especially from the Occidental side,” Miraflor pointed out.
He added, mobile checkpoints, composed of Philippine National Police and military personnel, will also be deployed along the many mountain highways connecting the two provinces.
“The governor called Negrenses for their help and cooperation,” he added. “If they have to travel, it should only be for important things like medical emergencies, work-related, or security purposes.”/DGB, WDJ