PHILEX Mining Corporation is set to ramp mass testing of employees after additional five Covid-19 cases were confirmed in Padcal, Tuba, Benguet.
Lawyer Eduardo Aratas, PMC legal officer, told SunStar Baguio the additional five Covid-19 confirmed cases recorded on Wednesday, October 21, were a result of the company's expanded testing after the mine site registered its first case sometime in August.
Since last week, nine employees and eight non-employees tested positive for the virus. As of Thursday, October 22, the 16 patients are currently admitted at the Benguet General Hospital and one is admitted at the Provincial Temporary Treatment and Management Facility in Wangal.
"When we had a case in the work area, the management said we must have expanded testing," Aratas said.
On Thursday, Aratas said Philex has already conducted at least 200 Covid-19 tests.
Aratas said the company will soon address the letter filed by two unions who expressed concern on the alarming number of Covid-19 cases in the community and the need for employees to undergo testing.
Philex, added Aratas, is set to allocate 1,000 Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, which cost around P4 million.
He added Philex is also preparing around 100 isolation beds in an isolation facility near the hospital subject to the inspection and approval of the Department of Health (DOH).
"In preparation for the results of the expanded testing, kung nagpositive kailangan i-isolate, habang wala pa taga Tuba, Itogon, DOH to get those positive of the virus," said Aratas, who added they are in coordination with the local government units of Barangay Camp 3 in Tuba and Barangay Ampucao in Itogon.
The localized lockdown imposed by Tuba is still in effect in Philex with the public asked to stay at home and observe all health protocols and avoid holding social gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus.