Mankayan braces for surge in COVID cases in mine camp

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MANKAYAN, Benguet – The municipal government recently enhanced its Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) response systems in anticipation to the possible surge in cases in the mine camp of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC) and ensure that the town’s health care system will not be stressed and the frontliners overwhelmed by the worst-case scenario.

Mayor Frenzel A. Ayong reported that the company should have put in place the necessary screening, detection and control measures to effectively and efficiently handle the situation so that the municipality will not experience the difficulties of handling the surge in COVID cases in the mine camp.

He pointed out that Lepanto management must start putting in place stringent health and safety protocols to prevent community transmission of the virus that could affect the capacity of the existing quarantine and isolation units.

Aside from considering the proposed alternate work scheme for its workers, Mayor Ayong claimed that Lepanto management should start implementing stringent health and safety protocols in the mine site to prevent the local transmission of the deadly virus inside and outside the camp.

Further, he stipulated that the use of the Lepanto Elementary School and the Lepanto National High School buildings as additional isolation units should already be worked out so that there will be available isolation beds for possible, suspected and probable COVID cases in the coming days.

The municipal government recently ordered a hard lockdown within the bunkhouses in the mine camp where there were confirmed COVID cases over the past several days as part of the strategies to ensure effective and efficient tracing of the close contacts of the individuals that tested positive for the virus.

Mayor Ayong also wrote Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap to help in sourcing out the required test kits for the aggressive testing of the mine workers to prevent the further spread of the virus in the mining community.

The Lepanto mine camp started recording confirmed COVID cases last November 10 with a single case followed by 2 cases last November 15, 4 cases last November 20, 8 cases last November 22 before it dropped to 4 cases in November 23 and eventually increased to 17 last November 24.

Ayong projected it will just be a matter of time when there will be a sudden surge in the number of COVID cases in the mine camp because of the situation in the said bunkhouses, thus, appropriate health and safety protocols must already be put in place to avoid surge in cases that would stress the town’s health care system and overwhelm the limited frontliners. By HENT

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