Opav denies health workers deployed to NCR Plus ‘forced’

THE Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav) has denied allegations that the first batch of health care workers (HCWs) deployed to the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus was forced or “left with no choice,” the same allegations the Department of Health (DOH) 7 also categorically denied.

“Looks like there’s a deliberate attempt to embarrass and malign the efforts of Visayas and also insult our HCWs (health care workers) and frontliners who willfully, bravely and heroically went to NCR Plus to serve our brothers and sisters there,” said Jonji Gonzales, Opav Undersecretary.

“Our heroic doctors and nurses are of legal age and mature enough to say ‘yes’ or say ‘no’ to the deployment,” he said.

He said that during the sendoff ceremony of the health frontliners, Opav Secretary Michael Dino gave them a contact number that they could call should they need assistance but “we haven’t received any. And it has been three days already.”

The Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) 7, which was earlier quoted as the source of the allegations, said on Saturday, April 10, 2021, that “PNA Region 7 is in solidarity with the effort of the national government, DOH 7 and Opav in their program of helping our colleagues in NCR.”Dr. Joseph

Stephen Descallar, PNA 7 governor, said, “The Bayanihan spirit shall prevail in these difficult times. PNA is much willing to collaborate so that we will heal as one.”

Second batch

Meanwhile, Gonzales referred 17 additional nurse applicants to the DOH 7 for the next batch of health frontliners who will be deployed to help the NCR Plus in its fight against coronavirus disease 2019 ( Covid-19).

The NCR Plus refers to Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, which are under enhanced community quarantine because of the rise in Covid-19 cases in these areas.

Gonzales said the applicants are registered nurses in Cebu City who are currently unemployed.

“That’s being worked on. The date (of the deployment of the next batch of health frontliners),” he told SunStar Cebu.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, said they have no specific target number of health frontliners who will be sent to the NCR Plus, but recruitment is still ongoing.

The DOH 7 already deployed the first batch of health personnel augmentation to the NCR Plus composed of 50 nurses, doctors and medical technologists.

On Saturday, the DOH reported more than 12,000 new infections for the second day in a row and 225 additional mortalities that brought the Covid-19 death toll to more than 1,300 in just seven days.

From April 4 to 10, the DOH confirmed a total of 1,322 mortalities, although some of these occurred before the said period.

In its case bulletin at 4 p.m. Saturday, the DOH said the 225 mortalities included 49 cases that were tagged as recoveries but were validated to be deaths.

New infections

These increased the cumulative deaths since the start of the pandemic to 14,744 in the Philip pines.

The case fatality rate remained at 1.73 percent.

The DOH also reported 12,674 new infections, which brought the number of active cases closer to 200,000.

As of Saturday, there were 190,245 active Covid-19 cases, or 22.3 percent of the 853,209 cumulative cases nationwide.

The number of active cases is, however, expected to decrease on Sunday because of the DOH’s mass recovery scheme that declares coronavirus positive individuals with no symptoms in at least 14 consecutive days as recoveries.

On Saturday, DOH reported 593 recoveries, which increased the total to 648,220. Three labs failed to submit their data to the Covid-19 Document Repository System.

The positivity rate remained elevated at 20.7 percent. A total of 40,868 samples were tested for Sars CoV 2, the virus that causes Covid-19. (WBS, HDT / SUN STAR PHILIPPINES)


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