Three more Negrense locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who returned from Cebu have tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health reported yesterday.
Patient No. 41 in a 25-year-old female from Sagay City quarantined at an LGU facility, Patient No. 42 is a 21-year-old male from Hinigaran who is under strict home quarantine, and Patient No. 43 is a 23-year-old from Escalante City who is LGU facility quarantined.
The DOH also reported 12 other COVID-19 positive LSIs in Iloilo yesterday bringing the confirmed coronavirus cases in Western Visayas to 197, with 114 recoveries, 72 active cases and 11 deaths.
It also reported that a 38-year-old COVID-19 positive overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, has recovered.
Of the 255 tests conducted at the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital (TLJPH) in Silay City, 252 were negative for COVID-19, the DOH also reported.
Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said they are working on further speeding up the release of COVID-19 results at the TLJPH laboratory because the backlog is still a considerable number.
The faster the results are released, the quicker they can release occupants in provincial government and local government quarantine facilities so they can accept more returning Negrenses from Manila and Cebu, he said.
As of yesterday there were about 300 Negrenses in Cebu waiting to be repatriated, he said.
There are 95 LSIs from Cebu at the provincial quarantine facility in Cadiz City waiting for their COVID-19 test results, and those who test negative will immediately be released, he said.
This will then enable the provincial government to accept more Negrense LSIs from Cebu, he added.
Even the LGU quarantine facilities as of yesterday were full and they were asking for assistance to open more facilities, Diaz added.
BACOLODNONS TESTED, TOO
Negros Occidental town and city government officials have expressed willingness to make donations to boost the COVID-19 testing capability of the TLJPH laboratory and a template has been sent to them on the process, which will then need the approval of their respective Sanggunians, Diaz said.
Bacolod City has not expressed interest in making a donation but as promised by the governor and former Rep. Alfredo Benitez, they will cover the expenses Bacolodnons tested for COVID-19 at the airport and seaports.
The provincial government is taking the lead in ensuring that residents of Bacolod and Negros Occidental will be free of people who could infect them with COVID-19, he said.
“We cannot allow people to enter province without being tested and risk possibility of an epidemic because we did not test them,“ Diaz said.
They test all incoming passengers except for those picked up by the Bacolod City government and taken to their quarantine facilities, he added.
Diaz pointed out that the COVID-19 cases in Negros Occidental have all come from outside the province.
Meanwhile, the provincial government is considering reinstating the Cadiz District Hospital that was designated as a COVID-19 hospital back to general hospital since it has no coronavirus patients in it.
The hospital is needed to treat patients with other ailments since the TLJPH is overcrowded and the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City has not been accepting some of patients from the province, he added.
They will instead convert the Northern Negros State College of Science and Technology building adjacent to the hospital into a facility for COVID-19 patients, he said.*
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