The COVID-19 cases in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, hit 163 Tuesday, April 6, with more coming from Barangay Guadalupe where a large group of choir members had tested positive for the virus.
The city had 140 active COVID-19 cases on Monday, April 5.
No lockdown has been ordered, San Carlos Mayor Renato Gustilo said.
Gustilo partly attributed the surge in COVID cases in San Carlos to the new policy of the national government that does not allow the swabbing of passengers on arrival for COVID-19 tests and quarantine until their negative results are out.
He also cited the illegal entry of undocumented Locally Stranded Individuals from Cebu into San Carlos via Negros Oriental.
A checkpoint at the highway border between San Carlos City and Negros Oriental only operates in the day time, Gustilo said.
They cannot risk the lives of persons assigned at the checkpoint at night with recent rebel activity in the north, he said.
So the undocumented LSIs slip in at night through the highway, while others enter the city by sea or through the mountainous areas, he said.
San Carlos residents have been alerted to report the presence of new arrivals from Cebu so they can be picked up and swabbed for COVID-19 tests, he added.
Gustilo said while there has been an increase in COVID cases in San Carlos, they have been mostly mild and at least there have been no new deaths.
Sixteen members of the Barangay Guadalupe Catholic Church in San Carlos City who had gone to Manapla to sing at an anniversary of a priest had earlier tested positive for COVID-19.
On Tuesday, 17 more relatives of the choir members in Barangay Guadalupe also tested positive, Joe Recalex Alingasa Jr., head of the city’s Emergency Operations Center, said.*