Davao bizmen told to allow employees with COVID-19 to continue work from isolation facilities

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 April) – Business owners in Davao City have been encouraged to allow employees with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to work remotely from isolation facilities if they are “asymptomatic.”

Mayor Sara Duterte said during her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday that she is set to release an order detailing the work arrangement guidelines for “asymptomatic” workers who need to work away from the office by reason of their confinement in temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMFs).

The mayor said the asymptomatic patients should be allowed to continue their work online to address their fears of losing income for their families for the period covered by their isolation.

“The employers should be ready to provide office tasks to their employees if they test positive and have to be isolated. An ‘able’ asymptomatic employee can still work online from the TTMF. They should be given deliverables, which must be considered as ‘work from home.’ They should have a salary,” she said.

Duterte believed it would benefit the employers and their businesses to encourage their workers to submit themselves for testing and assure them of support if they test positive for COVID-19 because it would avoid the spread of the infection in their workplaces as well as the subsequent lockdown to stem the transmission of the virus.

She said many of the workers don’t submit themselves to swab tests for fear that they can’t report for work and lose income once they test positive.

“Once [the employees] turn out positive and are immediately isolated, [employers] can save their businesses because COVID-19 will not spread in your offices…. If you are put in lockdown or closed, your businesses will be disrupted,” she said.

Duterte said it is better to address the transmission of COVID-19 immediately than neglecting it like a “ticking time bomb” and find out later that the spread of the virus is already serious to the point of congesting hospitals with severe and critical cases.

She said that without massive testing, cases in the city will surge in two to four months’ time.

“We need to look for these positive cases so that we can cut the transmission,” the mayor stressed.

She reminded authorities to keep TTMFs ready, clean, and complete for patients.

Duterte also directed health district offices to expedite the preparation of their respective swab centers, following the order of the local government requiring all close contacts of an index case to submit themselves for testing.

Duterte said the Sta. Ana Health Center has been congested due to the lack of swabbing centers.

Under Executive Order 20 released last Thursday, individuals are considered as “first generation” close contacts or F1 when they come in direct contact with an active case; “second generation” or F2 are the persons who have direct contact with F1; and “third generation” or F3 are the close contacts of F2.

It further said that the expanded testing was necessary amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other parts in the country where new mutated variants of the virus have emerged.

As of April 12, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 31 new cases, bringing the total cases to 22,319, with 827 active, 20,535 recoveries, and 957 deaths in the region.

Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 14,060 cases, with 340 active, 13,039 recoveries, and 681 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 1,421 cases, Davao del Norte with 3,741, Davao del Sur with 1,495, Davao Occidental with 221, and Davao Oriental with 1,381. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)