220 infected: COVID-19 spread in Iloilo market traced to gov't employee who owns stall, says mayor

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2021 01:17 PM

Passi Town in Iloilo under ECQ. Ronel Escaniel, ABS-CBN News


MANILA— Mass coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in a public market in Passi City, Iloilo- which has prompted a strict lockdown- have been traced to a government employee who happened to own a stall in the establishment, its mayor said Saturday. 

The local government's mass testing and contact tracing efforts among employees showed that the transmission came from one of their workers who also owned a stall in the Passi City Public Market, Mayor Stephen Palmares said. 

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This comes 2 days after the city was placed under enhanced community quarantine, the strictest of the 4 quarantine standards set by the national government to curb COVID-19 transmission.

Upon lockdown of the market, the LGU immediately tested all 650 market vendors, where 220 have been confirmed positive for the disease as of Saturday. 

"it originated sa isang empleyado natin na may stall sa Passi City public market," Palmares said. 

(It originated from an employee who has a stall in the Passi City public market.)

"While we were conducting the mass testing sa employees, may nakita po kaming nag-positive na employee na may isang stall sa Passi Public Market. Noong nag-contact tracing kami, may contact siya na 7 market vendors na nag-positive so na-alarm kami. So ginawa natin last Tuesday, we imposed a lockdown sa Passi City public market at lahat ng market vendors 650 market vendors ay ano natin pina-swab lahat " Palmares said. 

(While we were conducting the mass testing for employees, we saw someone had tested positive and they happened to own a stall in the Passi Public Market. When we did contact tracing, the person was found to be in contact with 7 market vendors who tested positive, so we were alarmed. So what we did last Tuesday was that we imposed a lockdown on the Passi City Public Market, and we had all 650 market vendors swab-tested)

The whole city was placed under ECQ beginning January 28 until February 11 after an initial 84 vendors from the said market tested positive for COVID-19. 

Under ECQ protocols, only one person from every household is allowed to go outdoors, provided they hold a quarantine pass from their barangay. 

Only essential establishments, such as pharmacies, hospitals, banks, and groceries remain open. Public transportation also remains suspended. 

Palmares said contact tracing efforts are in place, while they have tightened security for those coming in and out of the city.