Half of COVID-19 transmission in Davao happened in workplaces

Jun. 17, 2021

The surge of COVID-19 cases in Davao City has been alarming with a high of 4,022 active cases this week. But what can be done to curb the wave of infection?

The City Health Office has tracked the cases in the city, and found out that over half of the cases of transmission of COVID-19 infection happened in workplaces.

This was revealed by City Health Office (CHO) Acting Head Dr. Ashley Lopez during the COVID-19 Alert program on Disaster Radio Wednesday. He added that most of the cases fall on the age group of 20 to 39 years old.

Meanwhile, a story from the website byahengdo30 quoted Davao City COVID-19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser saying that 76.99 per cent or 1,000 of the 1,300 active cases from June 6 to 12 in Davao City were from the transmission in workplaces.

Lopez identified business processing outsourcing (BPOs) or commonly known as call centers and banks as workplaces where infection has been high.

Two weeks ago, three BPOs were put under lockdown when many of its staff and agents tested positive with COVID-19. One of these centers had 403 staff tested positive in a surveillance swab.

Lopez said they had a meeting with what they call the “big three” BPOs and agreed to lift the lockdown on these centers with conditions on health standards.

“We will lift the lockdown of the big three, we will set conditions in their compliance,” Lopez said. There had been claims that some of these BPOs ignore calls for minimum health standards or swab testing of their employees, and have enforced employees suspected of falling ill to continue with their office work.

Aside from call centers, Lopez said bank employees are very vulnerable as they worked in enclosed office spaces where the virus would most likely circulate.

“Lately we have several banks (that recorded infection),” Lopez said. “(I went around these banks) makita nga nag tuyok-tuyok ang virus dinha (I see the virus circulates around these places). Problema ang ventilation kay puro aircon. Dili ka matingala nga maapektuhan ang mga nag trabaho didto (The problem is with their ventilation as their places use airconditioning. It’s no wonder people working there get affected).”

Most banks have adjusted its workforce in the pandemic by shifting of its employees from work and home.

But still the city wants offices and establishments to seek ways that ventilation in office spaces can be made safer.

“If these places have closed or no windows, the best thing to do is put up exhaust fans,” said Lopez. “There should be an exit flow for air. The problem in offices is re-circulation, the tendency to recirculate, and If you have one silent carrier everyone gets exposed.”

The city continues to advise its residents to observe health protocols, and avail of COVID-19 vaccination as the government’s vaccination now caters to elderly and people with comorbidities. The city has administered first COVID doses to 102,359 persons as of June 8.

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