A SURGE in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) was recorded in Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC) in the municipality of Mankayan, Benguet.
Mayor Frenzel Ayong said the current active cases are mostly workers or family members of workers of the mining firm.
He added that the upsurge of cases in the Benguet town is a result of the aggressive contact tracing and expanded testing being undertaken jointly by the barangay and municipal local government unit, the mining company, national line agencies, government and non-government offices, in addition to civil society groups, private corporations helping and augmenting relief goods for individuals in the isolation facilities.
As of December 6, there were 267 active cases.
"The LGU's work is on contact tracing of those who tested positive of the virus and LCMC as per agreement with the local government unit, they do expanded testing starting three days ago with the main department area or main complex and on December 4 expanded testing were conducted involving the underground mine workers," Ayong said.
"Now, we can see the patterns of the data, because of the bunkhouses normally with common kitchen, common toilet and bathroom and the rooms are close to each other. On the mine underground admittedly, they have different destinations but when they ride the elevator going in and out the mines definitely, they are still clustered," Ayong added.
The 500 mine workers who underwent testing were ordered not to report to work while awaiting result of the test.
If in case there are new positive cases, they will be isolated in schools, including the identified isolation areas within the mining camp.
The local government purchased 360 folding beds for confirmed cases.
"[Mine] workers going inside are limited because they conducted testing for 500 of their workers. From the 800 workers, only 300 worked while they conducted the swab testing, the strategy is to isolate those who tested positive of the virus," he added.
The mayor said they obtained consent and approval of the Department of Education in Cordillera for the use of schools as isolation facilities.
He said that on average, there are more than 100 individuals being tested every day while the Department of Health provided 1,000 slots for Covid-19 tests.
Another 1,000 testing kits courtesy of Benguet legislative caretaker Eric Go Yap are also on their way.
Ayong said they will also ask for additional test kits from the Bases Conversion Development Authority so the stakeholders in the mining camp will also be swabbed.