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A comparison of the COVID-19 spread between Barangays Labangon and Luz

What other barangays can learn from them

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Reporter/CDN Digital | April 17,2020 - 07:55 PM

City Health Officers (left) conduct mass testing in Sitio, Zapatera, Barangay Luz while at right, Barangay Labangon officials conduct disinfection in Sitio Sto. Niño.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The increase of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Cebu City has been attributed to the widespread infection in Sitio Zapatera, Barangay Luz.

In just one week from April 12 to April 17, 2020, Luz accounted for 135 cases of the 161 total number of infections in Cebu City.

It started with one lone case on the outskirt of the barangay and moved swiftly to the interiors particularly in one sitio or sub-village and it is believed to have spread to other sitios of the barangay.

Read more: COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in Barrio Luz with 82 new cases

Yet in the same period of time, Barangay Labangon recorded only three cases and the spread was never fast as expected.

Doctor Daisy Villa, the head of the Cebu City Health Department (CHD), told CDN Digital that there is a huge difference with how the two barangays dealt with their positive COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Daisy Villa explains the reason for the quick COVID-19 spread in Barangay Luz as compared to Barangay Labangon. | CEbu City PIIO

Barangay Luz in Cebu City leads the entire region in the number of COVID-19 positive cases. The densely-populated barangay has reported  82 new cases on Friday, April 17, 2020, alone. | Photo courtesy of Cebu City PIO

Sitio Zapatera is a tight community of informal settlers isolated from the rest of the barangay by wide city roads. The spread was quick as people continued to go out even when the lockdown was implemented on April 12.

“While nagswab test mi, sigeg lakaw ang mga tawo sa palibot. (While we were taking swab tests, people walked around us),” said Villa.

Read more: Barangay Luz now on lockdown; Labangon records new cases of COVID-19

Even Luz Barangay Captain Ronelio Sab-a admitted that they had difficulty controlling the people in the sitio during the lockdown.

The city government had to deploy the police and military to contain the people inside the quarantined sub-village.

Virgilio Revas, 61, a resident of Sitio Zapatera told CDN Digital that the situation worsened after the DOH classified the sitio as infected.

“Ang mga tawo ingon sila, infected naman mi tanan, manggawas na lang daw sila. (The people said that since we are all infected, they would rather go out),” said Revas.

Read more: Mass testing continues for Sitio Zapatera, rest of Brgy. Luz to be tested

Revas said that one of the positive individuals keep going out of his house even after he was found to be infected. Contrary to the statements of the city government, the positive patients were not yet pulled out from the sitio.

“Di gyod sila mopatuo. (They never follow the guidelines),” said Revas.

Sab-a reminds the public especially those from other sitios to stay at home especially now that the entire barangay is under total lockdown as mandated by Mayor Edgardo Labella.

“Hangyo lang namo puyo lang intawn mo. (We are appealing to you, please stay home),” said the village chief.

Dr. Daisy Villa explains the reason for the quick COVID-19 spread in Barangay Luz as compared to Barangay Labangon. | CEbu City PIIO

Disinfection of Sitio Santo Niño in Barangay Labangon. | Photo courtesy of Barangay Labangon

Read more: Labangon braces for lockdown, Luz intensifies security for residents

Labangon cooperates

Villa said the main difference between Labangon and Luz is the actual cooperation of the barangay residents.

In Sitio Sto. Niño, Barangay Labangon, where two cases were recorded by the CHD, the public immediately followed the lockdown protocols.

They stayed in their homes and the infected individuals took extra care to avoid exposure.

Sitio Sto. Niño is located at a more dangerous location with other sitios surrounding it at all sides and across the A. Lopez Street is another barangay.

The first case was recorded on April 14, 2020, while the next case was recorded on April 17, 2020. The spread is significantly slower compared to Sitio Zapatera.

In between the announcement of the two cases, the barangay conducted disinfection in the sitio in hopes to control the virus.

The third case of Labangon was recorded in Katipunan Street, but this was recorded in a cluster clinic, as the patient was symptomatic.

Still, Villa praised the patient for adhering to the quarantine protocols religiously. The CHD is not expecting widespread infection in Katipunan as long as the residents continue to follow the quarantine protocol.

Villa also noted that both barangays have been subjected to mass testing on the same days, ruling out the possibility of cross infections by the city health officers.

“Depende gyod na sa mga tawo. Kung mosunod lang sila, di gyod mo daghan ang mga kaso. (It really depends on the people. If they stay at home, the cases would no rise),” said Villa.

If the city residents continue to violate the ECQ, then Cebu City still has not seen the peak of the cases. She urged the public to remain at home and refuse to let the virus enter their households.

Intensified ECQ

Mayor Edgardo Labella has expressed concerns over the rapid rise of cases in his city. He has ordered the lockdown of Luz and the isolation of all infected individuals.

He warned the public to follow the ECQ guidelines or risk arrest and court charges.

He strictly warned those who falsify quarantine passes that they would face the full extent of the law.

“I cannot reiterate this more, stay at home,” said the mayor. /rcg

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