IN not COVID free anymore

Gov. MMM bares the first two COVID-19 positive cases here

By Jun R. Guiang

LAOAG CITY, March 31, 2020–While Luzon and the rest of the country battle infection of the deadly disease, Ilocos Norte enjoyed the badge as a coronavirus-free province for many weeks.

Today, Ilocos Norte is not COVID-free anymore as the virus proved treacherous for it now victimized two innocent residents of Ilocos Norte.

Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc disclosed today, March 31, 2020, that the two male victims or patients in Ilocos Norte were tested positive of COVID-19 infection based on the laboratory result released by RITM (Research Institute on Tropical Medicine).

The two confirmed positive patients are now under treatment at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital in Batac City and both are reportedly isolated and in stable condition.

The governor’s official statement said that the first patient, 42 years old, hails from Paoay, Ilocos Norte and the second patient, 49 years old, from nearby Batac City.

The patient from Paoay has no travel history while the patient from Batac had traveled to Metro Manila several times, he added.

The governor had directed that the two barangays, where the two patients reside, be put under lockdown to prevent the spread of the dreaded disease.

It was learned that after contact tracing, all persons who previously mingled with the two patients were immediately placed under quarantine and continuously monitored by Task Force Salun-at of the provincial government.

As this developed, the Governor quickly issued another Executive Order No. 67-20 requiring all residents of IIocos Norte to wear face masks (sufficiently covering one’s nose and mouth) in public at all times whenever they leave their houses until COVID-19 pandemic is officially declared ceased.

Any person who violates this EO shall suffer penalties under Republic Act No. 11332 or any other applicable laws, he said.

In an online statement, he converted the provincial government-owned Plaza del Norte Hotel at Brgy. Balacad in Laoag City into a temporary quarantine place for suspected Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs) now totaling to 1,265 and Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) noting only two as of this writing, April 5, 2020.

So far, a total of 10,493 individuals had also completed the 14-day quarantine this weekend, April 5, the governor’s report said. (jun r. guiang)