DUMAGUETE CITY – Officials of Negros Oriental and this capital city have requested assistance from the Covid-19 Regional Task Force 7 (RTF-7) for the immediate procurement of vaccines to stem the continuing surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.
Office of Civil Defense (OCD-7) Regional Director Marlou Salazar, concurrently the chair of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council 7 (DRRMC-7) and RTF-7, has visited Dumaguete to look into the current situation in the city and province, said Adrian Sedillo, executive director of the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (PIATF-EID), in an interview Tuesday afternoon.
This, as Negros Oriental continues to have the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the region, records at the Department of Health in Region 7 (DOH-7) showed.
“Director Salazar asked us about our needs as well as inquiring about the establishment of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) especially in Dumaguete,” Sedillo said in mixed English and Cebuano dialect.
Sedillo said he told Salazar that Dumaguete has recently established its own EOC and the province intends to put up a joint EOC, being the current “epicenter” of Covid-19 cases in Negros Oriental.
Another concern raised was on empowering local government units (LGUs) to impose granular lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus, he said.
The meeting also discussed the intensification of contact tracing activities and the availability of isolation facilities at the barangay level.
“Katong among mga concerns iya pod na nga ipadangat sa RIATF, (he will raise our concerns to the RIATF), to see, for example, what the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Trade and Industry, and other member-agencies can do for Negros Oriental,” Sedillo said.
He said Salazar wanted to make representations on the request for vaccines, “even though Secretary (Carlito) Galvez has promised to send some for Negros Oriental and if it is possible to do this via a back-channel”.
“If Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo was able to make it through a plain and simple request, why can’t we?” he said, referring to the recent arrival of 10,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines for this capital city.
Sedillo noted that the DOH-7 has repeatedly said the allocation of vaccines for Negros Oriental is based on its consumption rate, but he told Salazar he believed it was not the lone basis.
Another request that was raised during Salazar’s visit was to raise the number of augmentation nurses being sent to private hospitals here by the DOH-7.
Likewise, the PIATF asked for additional swab kits amid the massive testing of first-generation contacts of Covid-19 positive cases here and in other parts of the province, Sedillo said. (PNA)