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COVID-19 consultant: "Ilocos Norte is doing well"

by PGIN-CMO

May. 31, 2020 ...

As the country's capital region strives to "flatten" its exponentially rising COVID-19 cases, Ilocos Norte continues to "do well" in its efforts to prevent the disease from possibly surging throughout the province, said provincial health consultant Dr. Norman Rabago, last Thursday.

In an interview, Dr. Rabago reported the current status of the province including its cases, condition of facilities, and its preparedness, in general:

"Ang definition kasi ng Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) para maging low-risk, kailangang sa loob ng 30 days, wala nang kaso ng COVID-19 ang isang lugar. E dito sa Ilocos Norte, halos 60 days nang wala. Ibig sabihin, Ilocos Norte is doing well."

"Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc ordered not to ease out our borders. Kung napansin ninyo, strikto pa rin ang mga checkpoint. We have already prepared our province for our returning residents and we have set our plans like for continued reminders and education to all our citizens so that this new normal will be made aware to everybody. These are strict measures that we must follow so as not further compromise the safety of our citizens," Dr. Balbag emphasized.

To note, the Provincial Government has initiated numerous efforts to abate the spread of COVID-19 in the province. Among these are the procurement of rapid test kits, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine and other necessary equipment, setting up of laboratory testing and adequate quarantine facilities, and provision of additional  transportation for medical frontliners, among others.

Aside from health-related initiatives, several cash assistance programs, livelihood continuity programs, and employment opportunities for displaced workers, daily wage earners, and volunteers were implemented to address the dire effects brought by the pandemic to Ilocos Norte residents.

"We reviewed our capacities to handle the worst possible scenario that our province could have. Huwag naman sanang dumating yung worst, but we are trying to prepare the province for the worst scenario, at nakahanda naman tayo sa ngayon. PGIN is working hard to prepare the province but also its citizens, Dr. Rabago reiterated.

He once again reminded the Ilokanos, saying, "For a short period of time, we expect this to go on for months or even years. Kaya baguhin natin ang mindset natin at tanggapin na ito na ang ating bagong normal. Kaya natin ito basta magtulungan tayong labanan ang COVID-19. We will heal as one."

At present, Ilocos Norte is under a modified general community quarantine, which started in May 16 and will last until today.