February 6, 2023

The Department of Health-Cordillera has appealed to the public to strictly observe the precautions and adjustments currently imposed Luzon-wide in light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, “as the worse is yet to come.”
On March 16, the Health Department reported the first Covid-19 case in the Cordillera after remaining free of the disease for almost two months since the first confirmed case in the country was announced on Jan. 30.
DOH-Cordillera OIC Director Amelita Pangilinan said the patient is from Manabo, Abra, who is a 39-year-old male, an overseas Filipino worker, who departed from the United Arab Emirates on March 2.
The DOH-Cordillera has coordinated with the local government unit of Manabo, the Abra Provincial Health Office, and the DOH-Region 1 for the implementation of infection control and prevention measures at the local level.
The patient was transferred to a level 3 hospital in San Fernando, La Union.
As of March 18, the DOH reported that the patient’s condition is stable and is recovering.
While Baguio City remains clear as of press time, Mayor Benjamin Magalong revealed that the city is looking at three to four serious cases and one death, which have higher probability of being caused by the Covid-19, which is why he considers the succeeding days as crucial for the city.
In his media briefing on March 20, Magalong said the city is awaiting test results and confirmation from the DOH, but added looking at the indications of said cases, these should already be considered a red flag that should call for strict and aggressive action to contain the disease.
He said the city is assisting in contact tracing ahead of the confirmation to track and monitor the condition of those who had been in contact with these possible cases.
Earlier in the week, the mayor declared Baguio under state of community quarantine that put in place precautions, which later aligned with the executive order of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte imposing the enhanced community quarantine over Luzon.
“With the DOH, we discussed that we need to be aggressive at kailangan kapag may red flag na, gumalaw na. Huwag na nating hintayin yung confirmatory test, kasi every day counts, every hour matters,” Magalong said.
He appealed to the constituents to strictly follow the guidelines on social distancing, the 24-hour curfew, to stay at home except for urgent business, for persons under monitoring or investigation to submit to self-quarantine, for businesses and offices to comply with the restrictions, and submit to checkpoints on major entry points to the city, among other measures.
The mayor earlier convened the city management committee and ordered the mobilization of all prevention and response programs.
Social distancing, curfew, travel restriction and other qua-rantine procedures are continuously being reviewed and polished to make the scheme effective in reducing the number of people on the streets even as Magalong has appealed to the public for understanding when sudden policy changes cause confusion. 
“The policies in implementing the enhanced community quarantine, being new, are a work in progress. The city troubleshoots and adjusts and fine tunes as the situation requires and this will continue until we achieve our ultimate goal of a Covid-free community,” the mayor said.
The mayor said there were gaps identified in the preparations but these are now being addressed.
He asked health officials to consider suggestions to improve their system of responding, handling, and addressing cases.
The city will set up its containment center at the Lindi Hotel along Legarda Road, which has been offered for free use to the city.
The 34-room edifice with complete lodging facilities will house PUIs with mild symptoms. 
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña and City Health Officer Rowena Galpo who inspected the facility said the city will work out the installation of medical equipment, housekeeping system, and other provisions needed to make it operational starting March 20.
The response mechanism to cushion the effects of the Covid-19 measures on the vulnerable sector has been set in motion with the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development (OCSWD) and the city’s barangays at the helm.
The mayor and dela Peña have observed also on March 20 the process flow employed by the OCSWD from receiving to the distribution of food items from the Department of Social Welfare and Development to recipients in the barangays as part of the Covid-19 response cluster program of the national government.
The mayor commended the OCSWD for the efficient, systematic, and accountable handling of the relief goods along with the donations being received by the city from private individuals and organizations.
The mayor assured barangay officials and residents that with the system, the relief items will reach the target beneficiaries as he promised that the city will do everything to address the needs of those affected by the health crisis.
The process of receiving, recording, itemizing, repacking, and distribution is being done by the OCSWD in coordination with the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, City Engineering Office, City Buildings and Architecture Office, and private volunteer organizations.
Concerns on relief goods may be directed to the following: Benjie Macadangdang of City Mayor’s Office – 0916-594-3463; Briccio Domondon, Mayor’s Special Services Office – 0947-322-1605/0915-149-5784; and Councilor Michael Lawana, ABC president through his social media account. – Hanna C. Lacsamana and Aileen P. Refuerzo