There is some disconnect between the Department of Health-Center for Health Development Bicol and the Provincial Health Office as far as the COVID-19 situation is concerned.
For example, the DOH’s COVID-19 Regional Case Bulletin as of July 3, 2021 showed Catanduanes with 20 new cases and 127 patients still sick, for a total of 147 total active cases.
Understandably, the department computed the province’s attack rate (the number of active cases per 100,000 population) as 53.45, the highest ever during this pandemic. It also has the total number of cases at 687.
The PHO’s COVID-19 tracker as of the same date, however, puts the total active cases at 119, nearly 30 cases below the DOH total.
The same discrepancy is also evident in the number of deaths, with the PHO tracker showing 23 deaths while the DOH has just 11 fatalities.
In this age of the information superhighway, it makes you wonder whether the PHO is sending its data to the regional office via the post office.
In the vaccination rollout report as of June 30, 2021, according to DOH, Catanduanes received a total of 21,130 doses, by far the smallest allocation among six Bicol provinces and behind only Camarines Norte’s 22,360.
Both provinces have the lowest number of COVID-19 cases, with Camarines Norte having 997 and Catanduanes with 687 as per DOH data.
The Regional Trial Court in Virac could be out of action for a few days more as the number of personnel stricken with the coronavirus disease rose to eight last weekend.
Fortunately, nine of those swabbed last week returned negative tests, including the two judges.
All the eight positive personnel are now isolated in their homes.
Another agency which has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases is the Catanduanes police, which had six as of the other week.
Last weekend, another four officers from a Police Mobile Force Company also tested positive for the virus.
Both are national government agencies, whose personnel are considered Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs).
Since their work is considered indispensable for the government, they are allowed to travel between different quarantine zones with only their travel or mission order as requirement, aside from the S-PaSS account.
Upon arrival at their station, they are no longer required to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine and are instead required to start working.
In one national agency, however, the Tribune learned that its personnel, despite traveling to Metro Manila as APORs, were ordered by their immediate superior to stop reporting for work once they arrived.
This action would be in violation of IATF rules, specifically Resolution No. 98-A, which provides that government officials/personnel on official business shall be allowed unimpeded travel to their place of destination, and shall not be required to undergo mandatory testing and/or quarantine protocols of the local government units of destination, provided that they, among others, pass symptom screening at the port of entry and strictly comply with minimum public health standards.
The personnel concerned, who were forced to go on vacation leave, have the right to seek redress.
The least their office could have done was to issue them an order allowing them to work from home for the duration of the two weeks.
Last week, personnel of two concrete mixers were spotted washing the trucks at a stream along the provincial road in Danicop, Virac.
This is prohibited by law, as liquid concrete wash water is a caustic material due to a high pH and it contains hazardous metals such as chromium that can leach into the ground and contaminate groundwater. Its high pH could inhibit plant growth and harm aquatic life.
In the US, covered and leak-proof washout facilities are used, with the solids disposed of as fill material after the water has evaporated.
LAWYER IN TROUBLE. Having drunk too much, a lawyer was involved in a car crash on his way home from a bar when he rear-ended the car in front at the traffic lights.
In his most pompous manner, he got out of the car, marched over to the innocent driver, and sneered: “Boy, are you in trouble! I’m a lawyer!”
The other driver said: “No, you’re in trouble. I’m a judge.”