Clustering of coronavirus cases rising in Davao Region

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 2 October) – Clustering of coronavirus cases has occurred in several workplaces in Davao Region following the easing of lockdown restrictions under the modified general community quarantine and reopening of the economy, a health official said.

Davao Region. Map courtesy of Google

Department of Health (DOH)-Davao assistant regional director Lenny Joy Rivera confirmed in a virtual press conference on Friday that the clustering of cases happened in 12 establishments, mostly private companies and a few government offices.

DOH sounded the alarm after tracing 50 recent and mostly asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, 33 of which are still active, to their workplaces.

“The DOH would like to inform everyone, every establishment to be strict when it comes to implementation of the minimum health protocols at the workplace because we’ve seen an increasing number of work establishments with clustering of cases,” Rivera said.

She noted that the clustering of COVID-19 cases was only reported in districts and barangays before.

She encouraged companies to strictly implement the minimum health standards, such as wearing face masks and face shields, maintaining a physical distance, and frequent handwashing to protect their workers from the virus.

She said DOH-Davao is coordinating with the Department of Labor and Employment and different local government units to monitor the compliance of the establishments to the infection control protocols that must be put in place.

She added that further case investigation and validation of the clustering of cases are needed to determine how the workers contracted the virus and brought it to their workplaces.

“We are doing the history-taking during case investigation so that we will know what policies and preventive measures we need to implement,” she said.

Rivera said some workers interacted with one another during meal time without any masks. She reminded them to treat every individual that they interact with as a possible source of COVID-19 infection.

“During investigation, it was found out that they talked to one another while eating without any masks and face shields. That’s one reason that there is transmission during work time. They talked to one another without distancing,” she said.

As of Oct. 1, DOH-Davao reported a total of 3,112 cases with 2,471 recoveries and 94 deaths.

Of this total, 1,975 were reported in Davao City, 235 in Davao de Oro, 359 in Davao del Norte, 199 in Davao del Sur, 74 in Davao Occidental, and 270 in Davao Oriental. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)