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Gov Degamo suspends classes in Negros Oriental amid rise in Covid-19 cases

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DUMAGUETE CITY – Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo on Thursday announced the suspension of classes at all levels in all public schools in the province from March 13 to 17.

The declaration is contained in Executive Order No. 17 signed Thursday afternoon, citing the rise in the cases of the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country, as well as President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency in the Philippines.

The suspension of classes also came after the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Metro Manila confirmed that a 62-year-old patient confined at a private hospital here has tested positive of Covid-19.

Degamo, in his executive order, said that the suspension of classes would lower the risk of spread of the virus, especially in schools.

Capitol Public Information Officer Bimbo Miraflor, at a press briefing Thursday afternoon, said that for private schools, the suspension of classes is at the discretion of the school administration.

Already, some schools here have canceled awarding and graduation exercises, such as Silliman University.

Meanwhile, the number of patients under investigation (PUIs) in Negros Oriental remains at three, while patients under monitoring (PUMs) rose from 13 on Wednesday to 20 on Thursday, said Miraflor.

The positive Covid-19 patient is still under intensive care and in isolation at the Silliman University Medical Center here, he said.

“It is fake news that he died,” Miraflor said, referring to social media posts circulating about the 62-year-old male from Tayasan, Negros Oriental who was first admitted at the Ace Doctors Dumaguete Hospital and later transferred to Silliman University Medical Center.

Dr. Liland Estacion, Provincial Health Office chief, said this is the first positive Covid-19 case in the Visayas, and in Negros Oriental.

Meanwhile, the PUMs who have history of travel to Hong Kong, South Korea, and China, are recovering. Their locations in Negros Oriental are spread out, but they are under constant monitoring by health authorities.

In a related development, health authorities have started contact tracing in Tayasan, the hometown of the Covid-19 patient, Estacion said, adding that those included are immediate family members, relatives, and others who have come in close contact with the patient.

The elderly patient traveled to Manila in late February and returned to Dumaguete on board a Philippine Airlines flight on March 1.

He was in Tayasan for a few days but was admitted at the Ace Dumaguete Doctors Hospital on March 7 and transferred to SUMC on March 10.