Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has underscored the need for teamwork to fight the novel coronavirus (nCoV) as he formed the provincial task force to respond to the growing concern over the outbreak.
“I believe the media can help us in making sure the right information is being sent out and if you see fake news, tell the public it’s fake news since it creates scare,” he said.
On Thursday, the Office of the Governor released a copy of Executive Order No. 20-09, creating the Provincial Novel Coronavirus Task Force chaired by Lacson himself.
This came as Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz, who is a member of the task force, said a resident of La Castellana was identified as a possible person under investigation (PUI) on Thursday.
The person, who traveled to Hong Kong manifested flu-like symptoms, was set to be brought to Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.
On Wednesday, a male PUI in Negros Occidental, who was admitted at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Hospital in Bacolod City, was found negative for nCoV and was already discharged.
Meanwhile, Lacson appointed Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, provincial health officer, as co-chair, and Leo Eusebio, head of the Hospital Operations Department, as vice-chair, of the task force.
Lacson, as the chair, will act as the information manager, with the assistance of Tumimbang, and will consult local health offices on the guidelines and protocol on the safety measures, prevention, and control of the nCoV in their respective localities.
He will also tap the local media and conduct public dialogues with health authorities, with the general public, and dispel rumors and calm down the people when hysteria and panic grip the community because of false and misleading information.
As the local crisis manager, the governor, with the assistance of the provincial health officer, will also call to organize the barangay health emergency response teams (BHERTs), as well as provide protective gadgets such as masks, goggles, gowns, gloves, among others.
The governor will also serve as the environmental health manager, with the assistance of Tumimbang and the Provincial Environment Management Office.
Lacson also urged private hospitals to assist the government in the fight against the nCoV outbreak. “My understanding is they cannot refuse (patients), especially if they are secondary or tertiary hospitals. We will put them to task. We have to make everybody understand that this is a team effort,” he added. (PNA)