By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has placed himself on isolation effective yesterday after being exposed to a female official of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) from Iloilo City who attended the Anti-Drug Abuse Summit in Bacolod City on January 22.
Provincial administrator, Atty. Rayfrando Diaz, said Lacson will be swabbed today along with 18 employees and officials of DILG provincial office.
Diaz said the DILG officials from Iloilo are classified as authorized persons outside residence (APORs) so they are exempted from inspection at the ports.
“The governor had direct contact with the official during the summit,” he said.
On Monday, the DILG provincial office in Iloilo confirmed that at least 23 of its employees have tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, forcing the office to temporarily close and to declare a work-from-home arrangement among the uninfected personnel for the time being.
In an official statement released yesterday, DILG-Iloilo said that all personnel who tested positive for the virus are already undergoing isolation in their respective local government units (LGUs) while “extensive contract tracing is being done to determine (possible transmission) up to the second degree of contacts.”
Meanwhile, all personnel with established contacts with any of the 23 positive cases have already been informed of the test results and immediately included in the list of contacts for swabbing.
Moreover, the entire DILG-Iloilo office, including the entire compound, was decontaminated following the incident.
Diaz said that some of the 18 DILG personnel who had come in contact with the COVID-positive official will be accommodated at the Mambukal Summer Resort operated by the provincial government for preventive isolation before the results will come out.
Others will be in home isolation, he added.
“We hope the governor’s result will be negative so he can return to work,” the provincial administrator said.
Diaz also appealed to the Negrenses to be careful because the COVID-19 virus is still a threat.
“We can hurt other people by not being responsible. We have to follow the protocols,” he said./DGB, WDJ