The Provincial Capitol of Negros Oriental. (Photo courtesy of Capitol PIO)

DUMAGUETE CITY – The provincial government of Negros Oriental has shut down the Capitol for two days for disinfection purposes while some barangays and house clusters are also closing down their borders to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Governor Roel Degamo ordered the suspension of work on Thursday and Friday to allow the Provincial General Services Office to conduct disinfection and sanitization of the different offices at the Capitol.

On Wednesday, Degamo said there was no need to “lockdown” the Capitol as Dr. Liland Estacion, Assistant Provincial Health Officer, said the governor did not pay a visit there since he arrived from Metro Manila early this month.

The Hall of Justice, meanwhile, extended for one day on Friday the temporary closure of the courts and offices there, originally set Wednesday and Thursday, as disinfection was not completed yet, according to a document obtained by the Philippine News Agency.

On the other hand, the City Health Office (CHO) here continues to operate although a portion of it was sealed off to the public after it was reported Friday by the Provincial Health Office (PHO) that an administrative staff tested positive for the coronavirus, said City Public Information Officer Dems Rey Demecillo.

He quoted City Health Officer Dr. Maria Sarah Talla as saying that the 44-year-old-female staff (not a front-liner or a health worker) has been quarantined already and being monitored by health workers since last week before the release of her swab test result.

Estacion said the CHO worker was the latest case in Negros Oriental, although the source of her infection was not immediately known.

She cautioned that if the source was not identified, a community transmission could be possible here.

In an interview, Demecillo said city health workers are still conducting a thorough investigation and tracing of the woman’s activities in the past days.

Elsewhere, 19 houses were placed under tight watch in Barangays Bajumpandan, Banilad, Bantayan, Cantil-e, Candauay, and Poblacion 1 and 2 after it was established that Covid-19 positive patients may have come into contact with some residents in these areas.

Barangays Lutoban and Mayabon in Zamboanguita and the villages of Bonbonon and Siit in Siaton were also under “lockdown” for possible incidence of local transmission of the Covid-19, as declared by their respective mayors.

The Negros Oriental State University (NORSU) main campus here was also closed today for disinfection because of its proximity to the Capitol although there was no report of exposure to any positive coronavirus patient.

The series of shut-downs came following extensive contact tracing which showed the movement of a Covid-19 positive patient who had visited a number of places before the release of his throat swab test result.

Angry Netizens and residents have expressed frustration over the latest “fast” spread of the coronavirus purportedly by just one source of infection, saying that all of the efforts to protect the city were in vain.

Many were calling for stricter measures to be imposed on authorized persons outside of residence (APOR), noting that the latest Covid-19 active cases involved APORs who appear to have not undergone quarantine upon their return to the province. (PNA)