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PUMs, PUIs in Ormoc increase as city strengthens COVID-19 response

ORMOC CITY – The city has reported a rising number of cases of PUIs and PUMs, per reports submitted by the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERT) to the City Health Department.

As of 3:00 P.M. of March 20, Friday, during the daily COVID-19 Task Force meeting led by Mayor Richard Gomez, it was found out that Ormoc’s PUM and PUI count is now 1,212 and 18, respectively.

A PUI or a Person Under Investigation is defined as anyone who has had travel history outside of Ormoc and upon his/her return displays COVID-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, or dry cough.

A PUM, meanwhile, is a person who, again, has had travel history outside the city but upon his/her return, does not display the said COVID-like symptoms.

Accordingly, the said ‘steady increase’ could be attributed to the city’s strengthened monitoring of Ormocanons going in and out of the city, and of the latter’s heeding to and cooperation with the Mayor’s call to voluntarily submit themselves to their respective barangay officials for monitoring.

More regulations

It was on March 17, Tuesday, that City Mayor Richard Gomez signed Executive Order No. 29, which outlines “revised guidelines regulating the entry of individuals coming to Ormoc via land, air and sea travel relative to Executive Order No. 27”, as the mayor saw that there was a greater and an urgent need to limit the movement of individuals and strictly regulate the number of people going inside of Ormoc to lessen the exposure of the city to risks associated with COVID-19.

“Harsh as it may be, but we will have to protect our own city. Otherwise, kapag may nakalusot dyan, the spread of the virus is exponential; it spreads so quickly. Pag may makalusot, most of us will get affected. Hayaan muna sila na magalit sa atin, anyways, nagalit na rin lang naman sila sa atin. But I don’t want anybody to die because nakalusot sila sa ibang lugar at nakapasok sila dito. It’s scary. It’s no joke. Hayaan mo sila magyaw-yaw sa Facebook na hindi sila pinapasok, so be it,” said the mayor during a COVID-19 Task Force meeting this week.

A few days after the release of EO 29, and after a meeting with business owners in the city, as facilitated by the Ormoc Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (ORCHAM), the mayor once again released a new EO in Executive Order No. 31, which, this time, highlights the closure of business and commercial establishments except those providing “essential goods and services” such as hospitals and medical clinics, banks and money transfer services, gasoline stations, hardware and auto shops, food preparation and delivery services, public utilities such as ORWASA and LEYECO V, telecommunications, media, construction companies, embalming services, suppliers of LPG, construction companies and courier companies beginning March 20, 2020 until further notice.

This EO was further refined on March 20 through Executive Order No. 31-A1A, that added payment centers, goods delivery services, and logistic companies as those that must remain open and operational because they fall under the category of establishments providing “essential goods and services”.

Added too was the business process outsourcing “provided that personnel are provided appropriate temporary accommodation arrangements”.

Finally, before ending the week, the mayor signed Executive Order No. 33, an Order Imposing a Quarantine on Certain Individuals. The said order specifically highlights that Ormocanons aged 65 years old and older are not allowed to leave the confines of their house except to go out for the purpose of seeking or getting medical attention or care effective March 20, 2020 at 10:00 PM, as, accordingly, based on statistics and available information, the highest rates of death from COVID-19 come from this age group.

“Barangay officials are directed to implement this issuance, extend assistance for the foregoing provided that social distancing is observed,” the EO further stated.

As of March 20, 2020, there is no positive COVID-19 case in Ormoc; and PUIs and PUMs are strictly monitored by the City Health Office, in cooperation with the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs). Furthermore, to ensure everybody’s safety and protection, the city government also requests everyone to stay at home, to do frequent hand washing and to observe social distancing when outside their homes. By Mary Ann Reusora

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