A MANDAUE City fire officer's death on Sunday, July 5, 2020, due to complications caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) resulted in the lockdown of the city's fire station.
The news of the 37-year-old fire officer's death shocked his wife, who had just given birth to their child last month.
The Mandaue City Fire Station (MCFS) was sealed off on Monday, July 6—no fire officer is allowed to go out and no outsiders can come in. So far, eight of the 50 MCFS personnel took the swab tests. The rest will undergo reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test within the week.
A fire marshal in Cebu Province died on Tuesday, July 7 after he had symptoms of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) 7 is waiting for the official's RT-PCR test result, said F/Chief Insp. Noel Ababon, spokesperson of the BFP 7 on Covid-19 matters.
There are more than 900 fire officers in Cebu Province, and in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue.
As of July 7, The BFP 7 had 39 personnel who tested positive for Covid-19. Of the personnel, 24 remain in isolation centers. Fourteen fire officers have fully recovered while one officer—the one from MCFS—succumbed to Covid-19. There are more than 900 fire officers in Cebu Province, and in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue.
The BFP 7 personnel and other members in the uniformed services—police, military and coast guard personnel—are active in the frontlines on Central Visayas' efforts in slowing the spread of Covid-19 infections. Frontliners, including physicians and other healthcare workers, are at a high risk of getting the novel coronavirus—first detected in Wuhan, a city in central China—as they deal directly with Covid-19 cases. The BFP 7 personnel's role is to decontaminate the residences and areas where the Covid-19 patients reside.
The Coast Guard District Central Visayas recorded additional 13 personnel who where found positive for Covid-19 after they took RT-PCR tests. Results came out last July 6.
A total of 31 coast guard personnel in Central Visayas who were found positive for Covid-19.
However, two of the 31 personnel have now tested negative on their second RT-PCR tests.
Fire station lockdowns
Aside from the MCFS, the BFP 7 placed Cordova Fire Station and Parian Sub-station in Cebu City on lockdown.
In case of fire incidents in Cordova, Parian and Mandaue City, firefighters from other fire stations will have to respond.
The San Nicolas Fire Sub-station in Cebu City is used by the BFP 7 as an isolation center for its Covid-19 positive personnel.
Before the lockdown on July 6, the MCFS had temporarily closed its station on July 2 after the 37-year-old MCFS fire officer was admitted in a Lapu-Lapu City hospital after he went down with a fever.
Inital findings showed that the fire officer had a urinary tract infection, which caused his fever. At 9:15 p.m. on July 5, he died because of respiratory infection. The swab test later revealed he had Covid-19.
The deceased fire officer's wife will receive benefits from the BFP 7.
Mandaue City Fire Marshal Bernard Batnag Jr. some of the personnel have cough and colds, and they have to isolate themselves for 14 days as they are direct contacts to the 37-year-old fire officer.
Some volunteers and partner communities of the MCFS supplied the fire officers with fruits and vegetables.
THE Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday, July 7, reported an additional 1,540 cases of coronavirus infection, bringing the total case count in the Philippines to 47,873.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire attributed the continued rise in cases to an increase in testing and poor implementation of minimum health standards that has led to community transmission of the Sars-CoV-2.
She said the country is not experiencing a second wave of infections.
“The increase has been gradual and our health system is able to cope with the increasing number of cases. This is reflected in our indicators. As of July 5, our case doubling time is still at 7.9 days,” she said.
Of the total cases, 34,178 are active cases. Of the new cases, 993 are fresh cases while 547 are late cases.
The agency also reported an additional 201 patients who have recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 12,386, and six more mortalities, raising the death toll to 1,309.
Vergeire said the continued increase in the Covid-19 tally is due to clustering of cases in barangays in the National Capital Region and Cebu as well as in workplaces in the capital region, such as the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.
As of Tuesday, 198 MRT-3 personnel have been found positive for Sars-CoV-2, including 15 ticket sellers assigned at the North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, GMA-Kamuning and Cubao stations.
“Due to this, the DOH together with the DILG and the concerned LGU (local government unit) has intensified contact tracing efforts and isolation protocols to contain the identified clusters,” Vergeire said.
Tuesday’s 1,540 cases are fewer than the 2,434 and 2,099 new cases listed on Sunday and Monday, respectively. (HBL, KFD & MVI)