Provincial health officer, 70 hospital workers Covid-19 positive

The provincial health officer and 70 employees of eight Negros Occidental hospitals have tested positive for COVID-19, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said Tuesday, September 28.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, tested positive for COVID-19 after he was exposed to his son who was hit by the virus, Diaz said.

Tumimbang’s close contacts at the PHO tested negative and the office remains open, he added.

The COVID-19 vaccination drive at the Negros Residences in Bacolod City has temporarily been suspended, but the vaccine rollout in the towns and cities of Negros Occidental will continue, Diaz said.

The 14 who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital (TLJPH) in Silay City were medical technicians and encoders at its COVID-19 molecular laboratory, he said.

This has slowed down the operations of the laboratory, he added.

The others who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Cadiz District Hospital in Cadiz City were 13, Valladolid District Hospital in Valladolid town – 9, Valeriano M. Gatuslao Memorial District Hospital in Himamaylan City – 5, Lorenzo D. Zayco District Hospital in Kabankalan City – 5, Ignacio L. Arroyo Memorial District Hospital in Isabela – 17, Don Salvador Benedicto District Hospital in La Carlota City – 4, and Merceditas Memorial District Hospital in Sipalay City – 3, Diaz said.

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said at the rate the COVID-19 cases are increasing the number of active cases could hit 4,000 in Negros Occidental, which he believes is being caused by the highly contagious Delta variant.

Negros Occidental had 3,963 active COVID-19 cases Tuesday.

“We will just have to continue contact tracing and treating those infected by the virus,” Lacson said.

“More importantly, when the vaccine is available people should really take it, especially those senior citizens who still refuse to be vaccinated,” he said.

He hopes they realize by now that many of those who have died because of COVID-19 were unvaccinated, Lacson said.

Even the medical technicians and encoders at the TLJPH have been hit with COVID-19, but because the province has a second molecular laboratory in Valladolid all the swab samples are being sent there for RT-PCR tests, he said.

Negros Occidental has adequate funds until the end of the year for the fight against COVID-19, Lacson said.*

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