MANILA — Negros Occidental recorded 1,386 new COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks, according to Department of Health data analyzed by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group (IRG).
Seven out of 10 of the new cases in Negros Occidental are from Bacolod City, which had 952 new cases from August 13 to August 27.
The total of almost 1,400 is a 137% increase from the week before.
It is also higher than Cebu province’s 1,183 new cases during the same period.
Cebu used to be called an emerging hotspot for COVID-19 in Visayas. But for 3 days this week, Negros Occidental, instead of Cebu, was in the list of DOH’s top provinces by newly announced cases.
“However, in terms of cumulative cases, Cebu still topped all provinces, logging 18,692 confirmed cases as of Aug. 27. Half of these cases (52%) or 9,627 cases, are in Cebu City,” ABS-CBN IRG said.
The DOH acknowledged the increase in cases, saying it has been attributed to locally stranded individuals (LSI) or workers from Metro Manila and other areas returning to their home provinces.
“You will see in their declarations sa letters na sinubmit nila sa IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19) na makikita mo talaga na for the past ang kanilang kasi iilan lang talaga. But during these past weeks talagang nag-increase ang number of cases sa Negros Occidental. And they were attributing this to locally stranded individuals,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual briefing on Friday.
(You will see in their letters submitted to the IATF, you will see that they do not have a lot of COVID-19 cases in the past. But during these past weeks, the number of cases in Negros Occidental really increased. And they were attributing this to locally stranded individuals.)
“When we checked the data, we verified na yung mga talagang umuwi papunta sa kanilang areas, yun talaga nagpa-increase ng mga kaso nila,” she said.
(When we checked the data, we verified that those who went to their home provinces caused the increase in their cases.)
Vergeire said her office continues to study the situation in Negros Occidental with national government officials visiting to check on the situation and their health facilities.
Back in July, a group of doctors appealed to the IATF to place Bacolod under the stricter enhanced community quarantine but it did not happen.
“Sec. Galvez did not support the call because it is impractical,” Vergeire said. “Kailangan natin tandaan (We have to remember), community quarantine is not the only intervention for COVID-19.”
Vergeire said the country or parts of the country “cannot stay in lockdown forever.”
Instead, she said the national government made sure that hospitals are adequate and they have a command system to decongest the facilities.
“Tinutulungan na din sila ngayon for temporary treatment facilities,” she said.
(They are also being aided in terms of temporary treatment facilities.)
But the top 3 provinces with confirmed COVID-19 cases are in Luzon, with Laguna topping the list with 10,149 total cases or 3,410 additional cases in 2 weeks. Laguna is followed by Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan and Batangas.
ABS-CBN IRG said that seven of these top 10 provinces logged more thousands of new COVID-19 cases in just two weeks.