By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Forty one employees of a BPO firm in Bacolod City tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, following a surveillance testing of 594 of their personnel, according to City Administrator Em Ang.
Ang, who also chairs the Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said that the EOC has called for an emergency meeting on Sunday night, January 31, after a reported clustering of new COVID-19 cases among employees of BPO firm Transcom located in the city’s Barangay Tangub.
Based on EOC line list last January 23, the first COVID-19 case in the company was a 21 year-old male employee residing in Barangay Bata. Two more cases quickly followed in less than 24 hours and then four more cases in the next two days.
Ang said their Monitoring and Enforcement Team visited the site on January 23 to check on compliance with health and safety protocols but were required to first submit a letter from the EOC and to undergo rapid testing before they would be allowed to go inside the premises.
It was followed by yet another visit on January 26 wherein the EOC called for an online meeting with Transcom management. They were apprised of the rapid growth of cases in their facility.
The EOC’s Testing Team continued to swab close contacts and results came back with seven additional positive cases.
After aggressive contact tracing and surveillance testing, 16 more positive cases from the BPO firm were found on January 30 and additional 11 positive cases on January 31, bringing the total cases to 41.
Following the emergency meeting on Sunday, Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) director, Police Colonel Manuel Placido, visited Transcom-Bacolod and the call center facility was ordered closed for 24 hours while disinfection and decontamination of the premises is carried out.
Meanwhile, EOC said they served a notice of violation against six BPO companies in the city yesterday for non-compliance of City Ordinance (CO) No. 941 (An Ordinance implementing the COVID-19 Contact Tracing System in the City of Bacolod).
Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy for medical data and analysis of the EOC, said Transcom was included in the list./DGB, WDJ