Malilong: Staying alive

Frank Malilong
·3 min read

SATURDAY before All Saints Day, we made a quick trip to Boljoon to observe a family milestone. (Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia was there, too; I saw a huge streamer hung across the municipal hall announcing her visit. She came to inaugurate a newly-widened barangay road and a crowd of mask-wearing town officials and employees were waiting to greet and thank her when we passed by.)

There had been Covid-19 cases recorded in Boljoon during the last six months, affecting mostly returning or vacationing residents, but the number was negligible and they did not cause any worry especially since there was no reported local transmission.

It therefore saddened me to learn that since the day of our visit, more than 15 residents had already tested positive for the coronavirus. For a small town like Boljoon, the number is significant. What makes it even more disturbing is that many of those who got infected were reportedly municipal government employees and their relatives.

Local health officials are understandably worried especially since the town fiesta is approaching and the nightly novena masses have begun. There are unconfirmed reports that the church was near capacity on the first day of the novena but the following day, the parish priest strictly enforced physical distancing measures.

It is important for everyone to cooperate by observing the protocols laid down by health officials. They should look at the Cebu City experience for valuable lessons. People largely ignored appeals for them to wear masks and avoid a crowd, among others, during the early days of the quarantine and the community paid dearly for their pigheadedness.

I am confident that nothing of that sort will happen in Boljoon where the people are simpler and better-natured. Besides, contact tracing is easier to achieve because of the size of the population. Just follow what your mayor and your municipal health officer tell you, guys and we will be just fine.

Still on Covid-19, while new infections in Cebu City have dwindled since September, we cannot be complacent in the light of what is happening in Europe where countries are reeling under the weight of a second wave. The surge is unquestionably the product of the easing of restrictions and the resulting business-as-usual attitude of the people after they managed to contain the first wave.

We have less than 300 cases in Cebu City in October, according to DOH 7 records, and the number should drop even lower this month if the trend continues as the new cases reported daily had been in single digits except on Nov. 7 when we had 12.

But Europe also went through this period of calm before all hell broke loss. Many of their hospitals are overwhelmed now, something that we thought could only happen in impoverished countries like ours.

We are still on quarantine. The virus is still here, waiting to strike. Three weeks ago, it shook the operations of an entire section of a private hospital when a number of resident physicians got infected, illustrating the hazards that our health workers continue to face. Then last week, Boljoon.

Stay safe and alive, people.