THE San Carlos City Government is trying to contain the spread of coronavirus, Mayor Renato Gustilo said.
Gustilo made the reaction after the city was named as among the 18 Covid-19 "high risk" areas in the country by the OCTA Research team based on its high record of daily new cases, attack rate and hospital occupancy.
Gustilo said he sees the surge "as a good thing" and admitted that they have a problem with enforcement.
"It is better that this happened so that people will realize that this virus is a serious thing. The people of San Carlos City has taken it for granted after Negros Occidental was put under modified general community quarantine. When it erupted, we had zero cases for many months. They believed that the virus was not real," Gustilo said.
With the recent surge of local Covid- 19 cases, the mayor said "residents will now think twice."
"This week, I will be recalling all members of our Law Enforcement Team and traffic enforcers," Gustilo said.
"We will maximize them from managing the traffic to enforcing our local health protocols such as wearing of face masks and physical distancing in public places," he added.
Also on the OCTA list are Makati City; Pasig City; Mandaluyong City; Baguio City; Itogon, Benguet; Calamba, Laguna;
Angono, Rizal; Cainta, Rizal; Tatay, Rizal; Lucena, Quezon; Ilagan, Isabela; Batangas City, Batangas; General Trias, Cavite; Iloilo City; Davao City; Davao Del Sur; Butuan City and Agusan Del Norte.
A report by the research team dated October 26 warned these areas of possible "high hospital burden" in the coming weeks, which can stress healthcare systems and overwhelm medical frontliners.
The OCTA Research advised concerned local governments to intensify its efforts in testing, tracing and isolation to reverse the increase of transmissions at the community level.
“In identified high-risk areas, the implementation of more aggressive and effective localized lockdowns with stricter border controls is urgently needed to suppress further viral transmissions,” it added.
Gustilo said they have amended their ordinance on wearing face masks.
Those caught violating it will be issued citation tickets and will have 24 hours to settle it, he said.
"I don't care if they get mad at me and the city government, but we have to strictly enforce our health protocols," Gustilo said.
Asked about the impact of the surge of Covid-19 cases on the city's tourism industry, he said it has adversely affected tourist destinations.
"We are trying to contain the virus with the arrival of contact tracers from the Department of Interior and Local Government," Gustilo added.
As of October 27, the city has 233 confirmed Covid-19 cases, of which 146 are active cases.
The City Government is also monitoring 667 individuals. A total of 144 individuals are in the city's quarantine facilities and 519 are in home quarantine.