DILG Region 5 (R5), through the Bicol Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), consulted local chief executives (LCEs) of Bicol to discuss prompt action in deterring rising COVID-19 infection in the region in a meeting on April 6, 2021.
DILG R5 Regional Director (RD) and BIATF Chair Atty. Anthony C. Nuyda presided over the meeting with all the governors of Bicol and the Naga City Mayor where the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) presented the increase of cases from March 29 to April 11, 2021 categorizing the region into moderate risk for COVID-19.
In the said meeting, the level of risk showed that Masbate is under minimal risk, Camarines Norte and Catanduanes under low risk, Albay and Camarines Sur under moderate risk, and Sorsogon under high risk. Notable in the report were the local government units (LGUs) categorized as high risk: one in Albay (Legazpi City), eight in Camarines Sur (Bombon, Camaligan, Canaman, Caramoan, Pamplona, Pasacao, Sag?ay, and San Jose), and five in Sorsogon (Bulusan, Casiguran, Matnog, Sorsogon City, and Sorsogon Province).
For those high-risk LGUs, the Department of Health (DOH)-Bicol Centers for Health Development (CHD) recommended community quarantine decision of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) and undertake immediate preventive actions relative to its recommended classification.
The high-risk classification occurs when an LGU records more than 200% 2-week growth rate (2WGR) with one to seven average daily attack rate (ADAR) which is the number of cases per 100,000 population. The high-risk category may also arise when an LGU records more than 0% to 200% 2WGR with more than seven ADAR.
As a result of the meeting, the BIATF released an advisory on April 8, 2021 indicating the majority of the provinces require negative RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) or negative antigen result except for Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, and Naga City which solely require negative RT-PCR result. Also, the provinces of Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, and Naga City will help maintain quarantine control checkpoint (QCC) in Del Gallego, Camarines Sur currently manned by Philippine National Police – Provincial Regional Office 5. While Camarines Norte province to provide personnel at the QCC in Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte.
It was also recommended that Sorsogon City and Naga City be subjected to the Bicol COVID-19 strategic targeted testing immediately and to find cases involving health care workers and front-liners to further contain the spread of the virus.