Mayor Evelio Leonardia called on the residents here to look at the experience of Cebu City as an example in curbing local cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Leonardia issued the call on Sunday night as Bacolod went through the first week of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) — set from September 8 to 30 — which suspended all forms of public transport and shut down the operations of most business establishments in the city.
“The people and economy of Cebu City survived the longest ECQ/MECQ in the country. Let us be inspired by their hard example,” he appealed.
As of Sunday, Bacolod has 2,574 confirmed cases of Covid-19, of which 988 have recovered. There are now 1,551 active cases and 35 deaths.
The mayor said Bacolod is not on lockdown, but on a slow down as he acknowledged that “the suspension of public transport is the main bone of contention during this MECQ since many businesses will have a hard time making sales when public transportation is suspended”.
Leonardia, however, said that if Bacolod operates public transport “like life is still normal, containment efforts will fail and the city will soon have more Covid-19 cases.”
“Many families and businesses will be adversely affected so, while we can still contain the spread, with the resources and manpower that we have in government, let us do it now,” he added.
The mayor said that postponing “biting the bullet” will only worsen the situation and could even prolong the MECQ, or even place the city under ECQ.
Leonardia noted that the exponential increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Bacolod between August and September alone is already “very alarming”.
“From a single-digit record for the whole month of March, our positive cases have now risen to triple-digits per day,” he said.
Citing statistics from the City Health Office, the mayor said that in August, Bacolod had 1,050 positive cases or an average of 34 per day. This increased on September 1 to 12, when a total of 1,232 cases were reported, or an average of 103 cases per day.
Bacolod recorded only six cases in March; 16 in April; and five in May. In June, 37 cases were listed, which showed an average of one per day; and in July, a total of 234 cases were recorded, or an average of eight per day.
Leonardia pointed out that in Cebu City, the team of retired Maj. Gen. Melquiades Feliciano, the deputy chief implementer of Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force-Visayas, was able to reduce the case rate from triple-digits to single-digit per day during several months of ECQ and MECQ.
“The formula they used in Cebu City is the model we are now following in Bacolod City,” the mayor said.
He added that once the daily case rate in Bacolod is brought down to double digits, then the city can probably relax back into general community quarantine (GCQ), if permitted by the National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), and reopen public transport in the city.
“That is the measurable goal we are striving for in this MECQ — to reduce our daily case rate from three digits to low double digits, at least. We cannot achieve this with so many people moving around and potentially spreading the virus further,” Leonardia said. (PNA)