THE Municipality of Sogod, Cebu has been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) with heightened restrictions starting Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, due to a spike in active Covid-19 cases and Covid-19-related deaths in August.
Sogod Mayor Richard Streegan signed Executive Order No. 2021-12 that reclassifies the quarantine level of the Municipality of Sogod from general community quarantine with heightened restrictions, to MECQ with heightened restrictions.
Sogod is the third town in Cebu to place itself under “voluntary MECQ” after San Fernando and Santander did so from Aug. 11, following Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s decision to place 11 other local government units under MECQ with heightened restrictions from Aug. 11 to 31 to curb the rise in Covid cases in Cebu Province.
The 11 are the towns of Consolacion, Liloan, Cordova, Minglanilla, Sibonga, Samboan, Argao and Oslob and the cities of Talisay, Naga and Carcar.
As of Aug 29, Sogod logged 37 active cases, 177 total recoveries, and 23 total deaths, bringing total confirmed cases to 237 since the start of the pandemic.
Municipal government data show that over half, or 12, of the town’s 23 deaths were reported from Aug. 12 to 29, 2021.
According to Streegan’s order, persons below 15 years old and above 65 years old, those with health risks and pregnant women must stay home at all times.
The movement of the people will be limited to accessing goods and services from permitted establishments or for work-related purposes.
Accessing goods and services at Sogod Public Market from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. will be on a scheduled basis and done by clustered barangays.
Establishments prohibited to operate are entertainment venues with live performers, recreational venues, amusement parks, outdoor and indoor contact sports venues, cockpits, indoor and outdoor tourist attractions, venues for meetings, personal care shops, dine-in restaurants and eateries.
Public transport must follow allowed seating capacity. Curfew hours remain from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Gatherings at residences are prohibited. Religious activities are allowed up to 10 percent of the venue capacity. Necrological services for non-Covid deaths are allowed for three days limited to up to 10 immediate family members.
Sogod Vice Mayor Lisa Marie Streegan told SunStar Cebu that most of the deceased positive individuals were unvaccinated and senior citizens.
She said those who tested positive for the coronavirus with mild to severe symptoms were in the hospital while those with mild symptoms were accommodated in municipal and barangay isolation facilities. Other patients were on home quarantine and monitored by barangay health workers.
Streegan said the MECQ with heightened restrictions status is recommended only for two weeks until Covid-19 cases decrease.
“Good for two weeks, if our cases go down, then we’ll adjust that,” Streegan said.
Streegan said most of the infected individuals did not report their Covid symptoms and continued to go around the town.
“To minimize the movement of the people, we requested the MECQ to the provincial and regional Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF),” she said.
“We were wondering why there were families affected already. When we did the contact tracing, that’s what we learned. We’ll just have to limit their going out of the house. That’s the only solution we see now,” Streegan said.
Streegan said affected families of the patients and persons under monitoring were under home quarantine and given food aid.
“We feel for everybody, with the restrictions under MECQ. But we have to make this judgment call for everyone’s safety. No one wants to be under MECQ, but we have to curtail the spread of the virus within our town,” Streegan said.
In southwestern Cebu, the Pinamungajan Municipal Government was “alarmed’’ by the town’s total of 22 Covid-19 deaths, of which 11 occurred from July 26 to Aug. 26 when cases started rising in July.
As of Aug. 26, Pinamungajan has had 437 confirmed cases, of which 103 are active cases, 312 are recoveries and 22 are deaths.
Of 91 active cases, 79 were under home quarantine, two under facility quarantine, and 10 hospitalized. Twelve patients were not in Pinamungajan but categorized as residents of the town.
Mayor Glenn Baricuatro told SunStar Cebu that just like other mayors in other towns, he was also “alarmed” about the number of deaths recorded in Pinamungajan.
“Wala may wala ma-alarm. Puros man na-alarm. Wala may lungsod nga wa na-alarm ana,” Baricuatro said. (There is no town that is not alarmed by that.)
Baricuatro said most of the deceased infected individuals were senior citizens aged 70 and above, patients with comorbidities and unvaccinated.
Baricuatro said they give immediate attention to residents experiencing flu-like and Covid-19 symptoms. The people report their neighbors if they notice someone with fever, cough and colds.
The Rural Health Unit and barangay health workers give these individuals vitamins and medicine. The ill are not allowed to leave home for three to four days after swabbing, and are given food assistance.
“The problem is that it takes a long time for the results of swab tests to be released. So when their symptoms point towards loss of smell, lack of appetite and coughing, we already give them the basic medicine and vitamins while they await the swab test results,” Bariculatro said.
Baricuatro said the municipality’s 120-bed isolation center owned by the Provincial Government is enough, and Covid-19 cases remain manageable in the town.
As of Aug. 27, almost 2,000 residents had been fully vaccinated in the town, while 2,286 had received a first dose. Pinamungajan has a population of 75,131. (MVE, JGS)