Bacolod City will continue to require negative COVID-19 tests results from Authorized Persons Outside of Residence as APORs from Panay entering the city have been found positive for the virus, City Administrator Em Ang said Thursday, August 5.
“We want to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Bacolod City, especially the highly contagious Delta variant that has already been detected in Panay,” Ang, executive director of the city Emergency Operations Center, said.
On Wednesday alone, out of 40 new COVID-19 positive cases in Bacolod City, 12 came from Iloilo, nine of whom were APORs and three were returning residents, she said.
She said if those persons who entered Bacolod were exempted from testing, they would be spreading the virus in the city, she said.
If every person hit with COVID-19, the exponential increase is three persons, she said.
The 12 from Iloilo who tested positive arrived on roll-on-roll off vessels, she said.
Those who disembarked from roll-on-roll-off vessels without negative RT-PCR results were brought to the Bata Elementary School to be swabbed and quarantined until their RT-PCR test results were released, she said.
Those who tested positive were sent to isolation facilities, she added.
Only those with essential business in the city were swabbed, while the rest with no negative RT-PCR results on arrival were sent back to Iloilo, she said.
This should teach those with no negative RT-PCR results a lesson that they will not be allowed to enter the city, she said.
Ang said the city government cannot test all incoming travelers from Panay so they must get tested from their point of origin 72 hours before departure.
They come by the hundreds every day, the city cannot afford to shoulder the costs of all their RT-PCR tests, she said, in reaction to the suggestion of Frank Carbon of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The city government only has 5,400 tests kits left and is ordering more that are needed to test COVID-19 symptomatic persons and their close contacts, and in preparation for a possible surge, Ang said.
The national Inter-Agency Task Force allows the local government to test private sector APORs, those who are exempted from testing are those from national government agencies, she said.
Ang said the city government will not allow APORs from the private sector to enter Bacolod without negative RT-PCR test results.
They are appealing to APORs from national government agencies to avoid travelling into the city if meetings can be conducted virtually, she said.
Ang said they are also appealing to APORs from national government agencies entering Bacolod City to voluntarily agree to be tested for COVID-19.
The Negros Occidental provincial government is also appealing to all APORs to voluntarily agree to be tested for COVID-19, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said.
The provincial government has testing booths at seaports and the airport, he said.
Ang said the COVID-19 cases and deaths in Bacolod City have been going down.
Bacolod registered its highest number of COVID-19 cases in a month since the pandemic started in June with 3,557, which dropped to 2,259 cases in July.
Bacolod City had 61 COVID-19 deaths in June, 42 in July and so far none in August, Ang said.
Bacolod City’s active cases have also dropped to three digits with 849 on Thursday.
Hospital COVID-19 bed utilization in Bacolod has also dropped, she said. In June hospital bed utilization in Bacolod was 98 percent, 50 to 60 percent in July and 38 percent in August, Ang said.
This could be result of the mass vaccination of senior citizens and persons with comorbidities who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, she said.*