Belmonte reiterates call for strict observance of minimum health protocols as 122 test positive in orphanage

Mayor Joy Belmonte has called on the management of workplaces and other high-risk closed facilities to strictly implement minimum public health protocols to avoid outbreaks of COVID-19.

This after 122 children and personnel at the Gentlehands Orphanage in Barangay Bagumbuhay tested positive for COVID-19, including 99 children aged 17 and below.

“Mariin nating ipinapaala na ang hindi pagsunod sa minimum public health protocols ay paglabag sa RA 11332. Dapat maging mahigpit ang ating persons in authority sa pagpapatupad nito para maiwasan natin ang pagkalat ng virus,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.

She added that the outbreak could have been prevented and “the children could have been saved from the life-threatening risks of COVID.”

According to CESU Chief Dr. Rolando Cruz, three male staff allegedly went out of the orphanage to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine last August 13. Six days later one of the children developed symptoms.

He said the orphanage has a total of 163 residents including both children and personnel, of which 143 were tested by CESU for COVID-19.

Swab results of the 143 showed that 25 tested negative while 118 tested positive. Of the positive individuals, 86 of them manifested symptoms while 32 are asymptomatic.

In addition, the four index cases bring the total positive cases to 122.

The remaining individuals who were not swabbed include 14 young children aged 0-1 year old and 2 children between 3-10 years of age.

As for the 32 staff, the CESU said five are fully vaccinated, 19 are partially vaccinated, while eight are waiting for vaccination schedules.

“Kailangang mapanatili ng mga ganitong closed long-term care facilities ang mahigpit na protocols dahil kahit isang kaso lang ang makapasok sa kanila, madaling mahahawa ang lahat,” Cruz added.

The Office of the City Mayor swiftly attended to the needs of the facility’s residents by sending paracetamol, vitamins, hygiene kits, face masks, alcohol, soap, rice nd food packs.

Belmonte also instructed CESU to closely monitor everyone’s health, especially of the children, and to do active surveillance of other closed settings such as nursing homes.

“Patuloy nating papalawigin ang ating swab testing at contact tracing program para maabot ang mga gaya nitong high-risk closed facilities,” said Belmonte.