NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
Handling the unique situations in the island barangays has to boil down to the realities in the day-to-day needs of the island residents.
Gov. Art Yap advised mayors of towns with island barangays to balance their policies between stopping infections from coming into the mainland and the difficulties of island residents.
On this, mayors in towns with island barangays will be coming up with a uniform policy on making it easy for island residents to undertake their transactions with government agencies and financial institutions, and in getting their supply; while also regulating the number of persons going out of their houses.
The mayors are expected to come up with the uniform policy within this week.
The mayors are now studying on reasonable restrictions that will not be too inconvenient to the island residents but will not put the mainland at stake.
As the mayors are studying what is unique to their towns, PNP will continue strictly implementing the Oplan Kalasag ni Dagohoy Reloaded.
This was tackled during the meeting (via Zoom) with the mayors of north and northeastern Bohol and League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)-Bohol Chapter president Mirial Sumaylo (Dauis) convened by Gov. Yap and Provincial Administrator Kath Pioquinto last Friday.
It was also agreed during the meeting that contact tracing in hotspot areas, especially in island barangays, will continue.
Surveillance swabbing will also be conducted in the islands nearby Guindacpan and Malingin to check if there are infections in these areas.
For his part, Neil John Oclarit of the Local Support Division of Department of Health (DOH-7) said that swab samples will only be collected from those who are manifesting symptoms of Covid-19.
It was noted that the community transmissions in the islands of Guidacpan and Malingin were tracked only after patients have been brought to the mainland and were found positive for Covid-19 when tested.
It was also agreed that when an island resident is found positive for Covid-19, entry to the mainland from the island where he or she is residing will be restricted.
However, only the households of the infected individual and the households of the close contacts of the persons in the infected individual’s household will be placed on lockdown and not the entire island.
Meanwhile, Bien Unido Mayor Rene Borenaga already lifted the lockdown on Malingin Island yesterday, after the island registered zero Covid case as of Friday.
This was after the recovery from infections of the last few Covid-positive residents in the island.
For his part, Buenavista Mayor Dave Duallo reported that his town also now has zero active Covid case as all the last three Covid-positive individuals have already recovered- -thus cleared, and the rest of the close contacts of a Covid case have been found negative of Covid-19.
For her part, Talibon Mayor Janet Garcia reported that her town still has 61 infected residents with the six cases added last Friday.