Banks asked to sub­mit safety plan due to case clus­ter­ing

Sun.Star Baguio - - Top Stories -

THE CITY govern­ment 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.

Doc­tor Rowena Galpo, chief of the Baguio 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 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.

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