Local transmission confirmed in Tacloban, 2 others
BY: ROEL T. AMAZONA
TACLOBAN CITY-The total number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Eastern Visayas has breached to 200 with additional 68 new cases, its biggest record in a single day so far, reported by the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday night.
And the DOH-8 said that there is now a local transmission in the towns of La Paz and Hilongos and here in Tacloban City.
Reports 68 new cases, Ormoc City posted the highest cases with 30 involving locally stranded individuals or LSIs (12), overseas workers (4), two health workers and a local resident, John Paul Roca, the information officer of DOH-8, said.
The city has now 38 COVID-19 cases.
Possible local transmission is also being eyed in the town of La Paz which posted nine cases involving seven local residents who are health workers with two LSIs.
Incidentally, a health worker who works in Lapaz but is a resident of Tacloban City was also confirmed to have been infected by the coronavirus, Roca said.
Also recording new cases were Catbalogan City with nine; Libagon, Southern Leyte,3; Pastrana,2; Tabontabon,1; Tacloban City,1; San Sebastian, Samar,1; Bato,7; Abuyog,1; Baybay City,1; Palo,1; Tanauan,1; and Mercedes,1, the first town in Eastern Samar to have the disease.
“Local transmission is confirmed in Tacloban City, municipalities of La Paz and Hilongos. This is because the recent confirmed cases have no recent travel history except for LSIs or no exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19,” Dr. Minerva Molon, DOH regional director said.
“At this stage of localized transmission, we should intensify contact tracing, mandatory admission of those who arrived in the region in the community isolation unit, improved hospital preparedness and enhance severe acute respiratory illness surveillance. We will also make sure that our laboratory is capable of testing possible surge of specimens coming from different provinces in the region,” Molon added.
Roca also said that based on the new cases, the province of Eastern Samar has posted its first COVID-19 case involving a 30-year old man overseas worker from the town of Mercedes.
Governor Ben Evardone said that he has directed Mercedes Mayor Edwin Quiminales to place Barangay Palamrag, where the overseas worker resides, under lockdown as part of their contact tracing and to ensure that virus could be contained right away.
“I would like to assure everybody that we will do our best to protect the health and safety of our people,” the governor said.
Until it recorded its first case on Saturday, Eastern Samar was the lone province in Eastern Visayas which does not have COVID-19 a case.
Among the provinces in the region, Leyte has posted the highest with 138 cases followed by Samar with 45; Northern Samar, 7; Southern Leyte, 7; and Biliran, 2.