Baguio asks banks to submit safety plan due to case clustering

Baguio asks banks to submit safety plan due to case clustering

BAGUIO CITY — The city government has asked banks and security agencies here to submit their long-term safety and health protocols as it sounded the alarm with the clustering of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.

Dr. Rowena Galpo, chief of the City Health Services Office (CHSO), on the sidelines of the meeting with the bank and security agency sector on Monday afternoon, said the plan will serve as a general manual and protocol for the safety of the public and employees themselves.

She said banks must follow the criteria given by the World Health Organization that raises the risk of people to Covid-19 such as closed environment, poor ventilation, and physical distancing.

“These are all present in banks,” Galpo said, as she urged the sector to open up their windows and allow natural air to get in.

“We are sounding the alarm and this is urgent because the epidemiology and surveillance conducted showed clustering of cases in the sector,” Galpo said.

She explained that 10 percent of all sectors in the city were subjected to the enhanced risk-based testing to allow the city government to be apprised of the situation.

“You are the last sector (that has) swab tested. Ito yung pinakamalaking clustering na nakita namin (This is the biggest clustering of cases that we saw) and this is causing us worry,” she said.

Around 435 bank employees were subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and it showed a positivity rate of 7.25 percent.

The first 14 positive cases from the sector out of the 15 initially tested, caused the disease to spread to others as shown when the contact tracing was done.

Meanwhile, Galpo said they are seeing the situation of security guards stationed in banks also as among the cause of transmission to many workers.

“Because they are not from Baguio, they either live together in barracks or at the basement of the banks or sleep in armored vehicles disregarding the safety protocols,” she said.

Living together gives them the chance to have a drinking session, using one glass. This was confirmed during contact tracing of close contacts of positive cases, she added.

Galpo said some of the bank employees also reside outside of the city and frequently travel, exposing them to the disease.

“Please submit a long-term safety, disease prevention and control for banks which will serve as protocol,” she said. Liza Agoot /PNA –