Our cities have greenlit devotees en mass for the nine-day Misa de Gallo, suspending quarantine pass use on one hand, while the Health department urges health-care facilities to allocate 30 percent of its capacities for Covid wards and critical care units.
We’re looking at six more dawn masses in 34 parishes in Cebu City, which is to say 34 risk spots for Covid-19 transmission every early morning leading up to Christmas. The Department of Health (DOH) 7 sees a likely spike in cases during the holidays.
Cebu City, once the epicenter in the country, still has 166 active cases. On Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, the city logged two new cases, Mandaue City had 25 and Lapu-Lapu had 44.
Our numbers aren’t as dismal as they once were, and we’re actually on a happy valley as far as the pandemic curve is concerned. Although, as we opened the economy and allow our usual rites with the restraint of health protocols, any spot in the city could trigger a potential tipping point. What assurance do we have from our public health managers?
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, said our region has the capacity to deploy from 4,000 to 5,000 tests within 24 hours.
“We have a very active and efficient Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for Cebu City. That alone will speak already that should anything happen between now and post-holiday, our EOC can immediately do contact tracing and isolate the individuals that need the isolation,” Loreche said. She talks of capacity we only wish we had earlier this year. Still, it’s a welcome development and good enough assurance while we go deeper into the crowd-drawing dawn masses.
Doing the rounds to help ensure that mass-goers strictly observe health protocols is a team composed of the local police, member of Task Force Kasaligan, personnel from the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement, and volunteers.
Cebu City Police Office Director Josefino Ligan said his officers wouldn’t be slack in enforcing the law for violators of health protocols despite the suspension of the quarantine pass use from Dec. 15 to Christmas day.
The church sees from the mass attendance in the first few dawn masses as the devotees’ demonstration of hope amidst the hard times. We hope the hopefulness and zeal among the faithful are also filled with care and meticulousness in observing the healthy rules of the day. That should be the best present we can give to each other.