Cagayan de Oro welcomes Iligan LSIs

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 21 August) –   This “City of Golden Friendship” is helping neighboring Iligan City in its fight against COVID-19.

A team from the Cagayan de Oro Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office on Thursday fetched at least 19 returning Iligan residents at the Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental and brought them to a hotel here for a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno said the Iligan City government will be paying for the hotel of its returning residents.

“We will shoulder the food expenses as our way of helping Iligan cope with its crisis,” he said.

The city government of Iligan had earlier asked  Moreno to allow it to rent hotels in Cagayan de Oro for its returning locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Fiipinos (ROFs).

A frontliner from the Cagayan de Oro Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office adjusts her safety goggles over her personal protection gear as she and other team members prepare to fetch returning Iligan residents at the Laguindigan Airport in Misamis Oriental on August 20, 2020. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

At the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the main referral center for COVID-19 in Northern Mindanao, officials said five COVID-19 patients from Iligan City, one of  whom had to be intubated,  arrived for treatment yesterday.

Moreno allayed fears that coronavirus infections would spike in Cagayan de Oro as a result of bringing in returning residents of Iligan.

He said the Iligan residents would be under tight watch of medical teams of the City Health Office during their 14-day quarantine.

“Returning (Iligan) residents from Manila are not infected with the virus. In fact, only a few percentage of them are found to be infected,” Moreno said.

The Department of Health’s Center for Health Development in Northern Mindanao reported a total of 173 COVID-19 cases in Iligan City as of August 20, up from 122 on August 13.

Out of 173 cases, 116 are classified as local cases while 57 others are Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

In the entire region, the number of COVID-19 cases as of August 20 is 1,050, with Cagayan de Oro City and Lanao del Norte recording the highest at 234 cases each.

Map shows distance between the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro and their distance to Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental. Map courtesy of Google Maps

But Moreno said that should a returning Iligan resident test positive of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, he or she will be moved to a treatment facility.

“There is no chance that they can infect Cagayan de Oro residents. They go straight to the hotel after they arrive in Laguindigan or Macabalan,”  he said, referring to the airport and seaport.

Moreno said  helping the local government in Iligan cope with the crisis will also help Cagayan de Oro because if the COVID-19 cases in Iligan will continue to rise, many patients will be brought to the NMMC.

“If the NMMC collapses, too, there is no other recourse but to impose a strict lockdown which would be detrimental to our economy,” he said. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)