PHOTO CAPTION: Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (right) and Provincial Administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz are now in quarantine following close contact with Dr. Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, PIMT chief, who recently tested positive for COVID-19. This is the third for Lacson and the first for Diaz. All three are asymptomatic./iNEWS
BACOLOD CITY–Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Atty. Rayfrando Diaz, provincial administrator, are now under quarantine after a department head and three employees of the Provincial Incident Management Team (PIMT) tested positive for the coronavirus.
This also forced the lockdown of the Governor’s Office, the Office of the Provincial Administrator, and the Provincial Disaster Management Program Division effective Friday, March 26.
Dr. Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, PIMT chief, confirmed that he and three of his staff are COVID-positive.
Caelian said that because the governor and Diaz were exposed to him during a meeting last Tuesday, March 22, they will also be swabbed and tested.
He said that he was found positive for the disease when he submitted himself to a swab test in preparation for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“I am asymptomatic,” he said, “and currently quarantined with my staff at the Mambucal Summer Resort.”
Lacson, on the other hand, said that he is also asymptomatic and “feels good”.
The governor called on all that he came in contact with during the week to monitor their condition and isolate themselves.
He added that aside from his regular meetings at his office at the Capitol, he attended an event of Himamaylan City at SM City-Bacolod on Wednesday and a groundbreaking of the new police station in Sipalay City on Thursday.
Diaz said he and Lacson and 40 other Capitol employees will undergo swab testing on Sunday.
Diaz also said that the provincial government will temporarily halt the processing of the S-PaSS of travelers wanting to enter the province as the personnel in charge of it are on quarantine.
This will temporarily halt the arrival of incoming passengers, he said.
He also said that a pediatrician at the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City has also tested positive for COVID-19.
The TLJPH pediatric ward and the neonatal intensive care unit have been locked down for disinfection.
The Pediatric Department will only cater to severe emergencies while the Obstetrics Department will only accommodate imminent deliveries, Diaz said.
The Negros Occidental Provincial Health Office is operating on a skeleton force, he added. (Eugene Y. Adiong/iNEWS-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)