TUBA, Benguet – The Philex Mining Corporation recently shared to municipal officials and health authorities from Mankayan and representatives of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC) their best practices that abated the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in its Padcal mine site.
Earlier, Mankayan Mayor Frenzel A. Ayong reached out to Philex management to seek inputs on how it effectively and efficiently prevented the possible surge in COVID cases in its mine camp so that the same will be replicated in Lepanto because of increase in cases reported in the latter’s bunkhouses.
Dr. Mariele L. Ventenilla, head of the medical department of the Sto. Niño Hospital in Philex, stated that at the onset, the decision of Philex management to immediately conduct aggressive and expanded testing among its over 2,000 workers and to voluntarily suspend mining operations for several days paved the way for the control of the spread of the deadly virus in the bunkhouses.
She pointed out that the timely conduct of the expanded testing done in partnership with the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) and a private testing laboratory allowed the company to be able to immediately isolate the possible, suspected, probable and confirmed COVID cases from the bunkhouses to prevent outbreaks that might stress the local health care system and overwhelm the health workers in the mining community.
The medical officer informed her counterpart in Lepanto that the timely intervention of Philex management in voluntarily suspending its operations coupled with the conduct of the expanded testing and granular lockdowns where the cases were traced caused the problem to be addressed the earliest instead of having to undergo the tedious process of contact tracing that might have taken some time to be completed.
Aside from the aforesaid interventions implemented by Philex in the mine camp, legal and administrative division head lawyer Eduardo M. Aratas claimed that management also distributed information and education materials to the households to guide them in handling their family members who are either asymptomatic or symptomatic that allowed contact tracers to identify individuals who should be subjected to quarantine or isolation in the isolation facilities in the 20-bed Smith Hall, the 10-bed Philex hospital and the 224-bed Philex Elementary School.
He stipulated that despite the discovery of intermittent cases from the different parts of the mine camp, the situation remains to be under control unlike in the previous weeks where there was really an unprecedented surge in the number of cases.
Mayor Ayong emphasized that the exchange of notes between the companies and the Mankayan municipal government was fruitful and that they were able to get inputs that they will enforce as preventive measures to avert the possible surge in COVID cases in the Lepanto mine camp.