Officials of Barangay Kaunlaran in Quezon City were shocked to learn on Wednesday that a hotel in the area had been converted into an isolation facility for overseas Filipino workers who tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
According to Saleema Refran’s report on “24 Oras,” the barangay authorities were not informed beforehand that the hotel would be used to house COVID-19-positive individuals.
“Ang cases po nila is 120… ‘Yun po talaga ‘yung positive cases nila na inaalis na nila batch by batch,” barangay councilor Jessie Tañedo said.
“Nabigla po kami nagkaroon ng gano’n na holding area, holding facility na puro positive pala ‘yung nasa loob at kami ang alam lang namin is swabbing,” he added.
QC officials were earlier surprised to learn that a hotel in Barangay Greater Lagro was converted into an isolation facility for COVID-19 patients.
Another hotel in the neighboring Barangay San Martin de Porres housed 17 guests who were positive for COVID-19 but local officials said they were properly informed.
“Kalusugan at kapakanan ng mamamayan ‘yung nakasalalay dito. Siyempre lahat tayo nakikipaglaban po,” barangay captain Mervin Viray said.
Out of the seven hotels that were inspected by the Quezon City government, five were found to be used as isolation facilities for a total of 315 COVID-19 patients.
“[There should be] full disclosure of all the important information, considering that we’re a very big city, close to three million people kami. Mahirap ma-control ang COVID kung wala tayong nalalamang mga datos na manggagaling dito,” Teresa Tirona of the QC Tourism Board said.
Last week, the government’s inter-agency COVID-19 task force attributed such incidents to “miscommunication” between hotels and local government units.
The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), which manages the hotels-turned-isolation facilities, assured residents near the establishments that there is no cause for alarm.
“Humihingi kami ng paumanhin kay Mayor Joy [Belmonte] and sa Quezon City government dahil po sa miscommunication ng hotel at ng LGU,” BOQ Deputy Director Dr. Roberto Salvador Jr. said.
“Binabantayan po ito ng mga quarantine medical officers natin and ini-implement natin ‘yung strict infection control… Hindi po sila lumalabas ng kwarto, lahat po sila asymptomatic,” he added.
The BOQ said it has helped put 4,153 COVID-19-positive OFWs in isolation, 3,447 of whom have already recovered from the respiratory disease.
“Tandaan po natin na hindi porket may COVID ka, nakakahawa ka. Pagka po asymptomatic ‘yung mga COVID positive, napakababa po ng tsansang makahawa,” Salvador said.
The BOQ vowed to give local governments a list of hotels being used as isolation facilities.
The QC government also appealed to hotels to inform authorities if they are housing COVID-19 patients. -Julia Mari Ornedo/MDM, GMA News