BORACAY ISLAND, Malay, Aklan–A total of 16 employees of one high-end hotel in Barangay Yapak in Boracay have been found positive for the coronavirus.
This, after the second batch of free mass testing was rolled out on the island from January 19 to January 22 targeting tourism workers. During this period, the testing teams collected 1,394 swab specimens from workers of hotels and restaurants, and island hopping and boat-transport groups.
Out of the 16 positive cases, only one hotel worker is symptomatic, Provincial Health Officer I Dr. Cornelio Cuachon, Jr. said.
The active cases as of January 23—residents of Capiz, Iloilo, and Aklan provinces but tagged as COVID-19 cases of Malay, Aklan–were isolated in quarantine facilities immediately after their test results were released by the Provincial Health Office (PHO-Aklan).
The hotel has been advised to closely coordinate with the Municipal Health Office (MHO)-Malay and PHO-Aklan and urged to implement rigid health and safety protocols among its staff and guests.
High-risk hotel employees, meanwhile, were reminded to self-isolate to contain the spread of the disease and inform authorities should they start showing symptoms.
“If they have symptoms, they will be swabbed and tested right away,” Cuachon said.
It was learned that the Aklan Provincial Epidemiological and Surveillance Unit (PESU) is also checking the places visited by the COVID-19 patients during their infectious period.
For his part, Aklan governor Florencio Miraflores ordered a five-day suspension of the hotel’s operations so the entire place can be cleaned and disinfected.
To date, the town of Malay has 26 confirmed cases including 19 active cases and one fatality due to COVID-related complications.
To recall, the Department of Health, PHO-Aklan, and MHO-Malay conducted the first batch of mass testing of hotel employees from December 26 to 29, 2020.
All the 1,691 specimens gathered then turned out negative.
When completed, an estimated 4,000 tourism workers would have undergone reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing under the program funded with P10-million by the Department of Tourism through the Tourism Promotions Board.
The first positive case—an employee of a luxury hotel in Station 1 in Barangay Balabag—was logged on December 14, 2020, two months into the island’s reopening in October. The patient’s 200 co-workers, however, tested negative.
The province-operated Ciriaco S. Tirol Hospital in Barangay Balabag is commissioned to conduct the testing of employees of establishments in the island with 10 or fewer workers, according to Miraflores./(Boy Ryan Zabal/INews-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)