Negros Oriental Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion. (PNA file photo courtesy of Capitol PIO)

DUMAGUETE CITY – The number of active cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Negros Oriental has increased to 18 after 12 new infections were reported on Thursday and one on Friday.

In a press briefing on Friday, Assistant Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Liland Estacion, who heads the health committee of the province’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), also reported three recent recoveries.

Estacion linked many of the new cases to a Provincial Capitol official, known as Patient NegOr CoV 191, who had a history of travel to a high-risk area and whose companions also tested positive for the virus.

The name of the official was not disclosed as Governor Roel Degamo and IATF officials invoked the Privacy Act.

Other sources said the official had visited their institutions, which led to the temporary shutdown of the offices for disinfection.

Estacion identified the latest case as Patient NegOr CoV 204, a 44-year-old woman from Barangay Calindagan here who works as an administrative staff at the City Health Office.

She said the health office has been tracing if she was a secondary or tertiary contact of the Capitol official, noting that until the source of her infection is determined, community transmission is a huge possibility.

Estacion further said seven of the 12 cases reported on Thursday were identified as direct contacts of the Capitol official.

She also clarified that five of the 12 were not from Pamplona town, as earlier reported.

Estacion, meanwhile, bared that 19 people from the Negros Oriental Detention and Rehabilitation Center here who were tested on Tuesday and nine people from a municipal trial court in Sibulan, which the Capitol official had visited, have tested negative for the virus. (PNA)