Iligan vice mayor admits being positive of COVID-19

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 1 Sep) – The vice mayor of Iligan City has admitted on Tuesday he is positive of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after having close contact with a city councilor who was infected earlier.

Iligan Vice Mayor Jemar Vera Cruz attends a village meeting. Photo courtesy of the vice mayor’s Facebook page

As this developed, the Philippine National Police placed an entire police station in Iligan temporarily closed after it was found one of its officers was infected of the COVID-19.

Vice Mayor Jemar Vera Cruz said in a post in his Facebook page that he was tested positive after he had direct contact with a fellow Iligan official, Councilor Noli Pardillo.

Vera Cruz said he has not exhibited any symptoms of COVID-19 and feels healthy.

He said he had direct contact with Councilor Pardillo because of their weekly program “Kapihan sa Iligan” as well as having attended a meeting on Aug. 22 with the department heads of the local government unit, wherein Mayor Celso Regencia and Pardillo were also there.

Vera Cruz had his swab test last Sunday after finding out that Pardillo tested positive.

“People of Iligan, the enemy is invisible,” he said in his Facebook post in the vernacular. “Let us protect ourselves so we can protect the people we love and our community,” he added.

Iligan was placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine by the National Inter-Agency Task Force on Monday until Sept. 30 as COVID-19 cases continue to rise with limited hospital beds and isolation units.

The Iligan Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Health Cluster reported that as of Sept. 1, the city has 337 total confirmed cases in 34 of its 44 barangays. Of these, 258 cases, or 76.6 percent, were infected locally. Thirty-seven are reportedly admitted in medical facilities, 139 are in isolation facilities, 20 in home quarantine, and 131 have recovered. There were reportedly 10 deaths from these cases.

Lt. Col. Mardy Hortillosa, PNP-10 spokesperson, said they directed all 40 police officers of the police station to undergo a 14-day quarantine in an isolation facility run by the Iligan local government.

Hortillosa said this came after a police officer that was infected of the infectious virus reported for work.

“We are assuming that the police officer has closed contacts with the rest of the police officers in the station,” he said.

Hortillosa did not mention the police station, but radio station RMN-DXIC, in its Facebook page, said it was Police Station 4 situated in Barangay Tubod.

It further said that based on the EOC’s detailed reports on the individual cases, 15 other people may have already been infected by the policeman, including a nine-year-old girl and a 72-year-old female. There was no mention how many of those infected were also in the police force.

Hortillosa said policemen from nearby police stations would be deployed to replace the quarantined policemen soon after the station can be disinfected.

He said a total of eight police officers in Region 10 have been infected of COVID-19. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)