MANILA, Philippines—National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) chief Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad and 115 members of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
The OCD in Camp Aguinaldo will be temporarily closed from Friday (August 27) to August 30 for disinfection measures while the infected staff undergo quarantine.
Jalad, in his statement, assured that OCD services will continue via 24/7 online channels while the NDRRMC Operations Center will continue their DRRMC monitoring and coordination services.
“Despite this circumstance, Team OCD remains strong and fully committed to our responsibilities to our people,” he said. “We assure our people that we are not hindered in any way to serve. We will overcome COVID-19.”
NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal reported that 80% of the total OCD employees who tested positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic, while 20% of them are experiencing mild symptoms. Out of the 116 OCD staff, including Jalad, 95% of them are fully-vaccinated, Tibal added.
“More than 95% of OCD employees po and officers are fully vaccinated na. As early as June po kasi fully vaccinated na ang mga empleyado natin kaya ito po ang nakikita nating dahilan kung bakit majority of all those who tested positive are asymptomatic, (More than 95% of OCD employees and officers are fully vaccinated. Our employees have been fully vaccinated as early as June that is why majority of those who tested positive are asymptomatic),” he said.
The OCD is already preparing swab tests for the families and dependents of the employees who tested positive for the virus.
“If not this weekend baka Monday ay maipa-testing na rin po natin sila para malaman natin kung sila po ba ay nahawa o hindi (If not this weekend, we might test [the families and dependents], by Monday to know if they also got infected or not),” Timbal said.
He also reported that they still cannot say if the OCD employees were infected with the Delta variant.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) said it will conduct genome sequencing to determine whether the employees are positive for the Delta variant.
“Tingnan muna namin ang spread ng 116 positive kung iba’t ibang opisina o iba-ibang building (We will determine if the spread of the 116 positive cases are from different offices or buildings), but definitely this is clustering of cases we will get samples form them,” DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)