Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has made a call for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients to publicly come out about testing positive for the virus. He did so with the consideration that transparency would be the best tool in tracing and isolating potential COVID-19 cases.
As the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the Cordillera region, Baguio City currently has a total of 12 COVID-19 cases. Of those 12, 5 patients have publicly stated their COVID-19 statuses of their own accord.
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3 of the cases are of visitors to Baguio City. Spouses Enrique and Jaysay Bactad from Las Piñas City in Metro Manila and US National Rafael Serrano responded to Magalong’s call for transparency in order to make contact-tracing more efficient.
Joel Junsay, a barangay health evaluator, was the city’s first known case of local transmission as well as the first individual to step forward about his status.
“As a frontliner, I have to make the difficult but necessary decision [to reveal] that I tested positive for COVID-19. I took the risk of being exposed just so I could go to work and be of service to the public,” Junsay said in a Facebook post.
Doctor Manuel Kelly is the most recent of the 5 to reveal his test results.
“As a frontliner, working as a doctor, we can’t help but be exposed to this dreadful pandemic. For the safety of everyone I may have encountered or came in contact with, I want to be transparent,” Kelly said.
Magalong’s appeal to COVID-19 patients was paired with the emphatic reminder not to harass or discriminate anyone who had the courage to identify themselves.
“What they need now is understanding, compassion, and help in any way to get through their present ordeal,” Magalong said of the COVID-19 patients.
“It is not easy to come out set aside your privacy and expose yourself to public humiliation but they did so with courage and for that, they earned my respect and admiration.”
“They do not wish to be edified. They just need to be respected and accepted as partners in this fight against the COVID-19 menace. We need all the help that we can get because in this struggle, every second counts,” the mayor concluded.
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