PHOTO CAPTION: Murcia Mayor Gerry Rojas (right) and 3rd District Board Member Frederick Ko (left) have tested positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic and recovering at a provincial healing facility./iNEWS
BACOLOD CITY–Murcia Mayor Gerry Rojas has become a statistic in the present pandemic after his RT-PCR test results released late afternoon yesterday found him positive for COVID-19.
He is also the first local chief executive in Negros Occidental to be infected this year and the fourth mayor in the province to be sickened by SARS-CoV-2 overall.
Last year, Mayor Marvin Malacon of EB Magalona, Pontevedra Mayor Jose Benito Alonzo, and Victorias City Mayor Frederick Palanca all tested positive for and recovered from COVID-19.
Rojas’s status was disclosed by Atty. Rayfrando Diaz, provincial administrator, who also confirmed that Board Member Frederick Ko (3rd district) and six others from Murcia town— Murcia Councilors Belen Magbanua and Adrain Olimpo, former councilor Ruben Taneza, and three of the mayor’s staff members—have been hit by the virus as well.
All eight are currently at the quarantine facility at Mambukal Mountain Resort.
Rojas and Ko are reportedly asymptomatic but the others’ conditions are not known.
As of April 7, 2021, Negros Occidental has 635 active COVID-19 cases. Cumulatively, the province has had 7,865 cases, 7,000 recoveries, and 230 deaths since March last year, data from the Provincial Incident Management Team showed.
As of April 6, San Carlos City topped the provincial list with 164 active cases, followed by Cadiz City with 54, and La Carlota City with 47, according to an earlier PIMT report.
Meanwhile, in Kabankalan City, City Information Officer Jake Gonzales reported that 179 residents from different barangays in Kabankalan City were swabbed and placed in isolation on Wednesday at the Pinaguimpinan, Talubangi, Binicuil, and Oringao healing centers after they were determined to be close contacts of 25 individuals, including a barangay captain, who had earlier tested positive for COVID-19.
Of the 25, 15 were participants of a cockfight in Brgy. Andolawan, Ilog, on March 23, it was revealed.
Furthermore, Gonzales announced that the Kabankalan City Hall Accounting and Agriculture Offices are temporarily closed after some of their employees were found to have contracted the virus. (Eugene Y. Adiong/iNEWS-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)