COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. “Kaso makwestyon mo man ina kay waay sang COVID-positive nga pumoluyo diri kag waay man sang nagamasakit nga ma-relate COVID,” said Esmeralda. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. These droplets also land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. The World Health Organization is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19./PN Specimens taken from the SB’s close contacts were being tested at the Western Visayas Medical Center sub-national laboratory in Mandurriao, Iloilo City. Where could he have contracted the disease? “Ang problema kay halos tanan nga personnel affected. Almost three-fourth affected, amo na nga ang local government paralyzed. Indi sila ka gwa sa ila balay,” said Esmeralda. “Para ma-confirm kon positive gid man sia or false positive,” said Esmeralda. Igbaras, 40 kilometers west of Iloilo City, is a third-class municipality with a population of over 32,000 people (as of2015 census) spread in 46 barangays. The mayor did not discount the possibility that the SB member may have caught it from someone in Igbaras who was asymptomatic. The result of the 55-year-old male SB member’s reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test was released late afternoon on Monday. Also subjected to RT-PCR test yesterday were an initial 50 of some 150 close contacts of the SB member at the town hall (his office staff and several town officials, including Esmeralda). Esmeralda said the SB member had not left Iloilo province except on May 1 when he went to Iloilo City. But because the RT-PCR test is considered the “gold standard” in COVID testing, yesterday morning he had the SB member take another RT-PCR test. “Ang problema kay halos tanan nga personnel affected. Almost three-fourth affected, amo na nga ang local government paralyzed. Indi sila ka gwa sa ila balay,” says Mayor Jaime Esmeralda of Igbaras, Iloilo. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN “Paralyzed” was how he described the current state of his local government unit (LGU). Esmeralda hoped for COVID-negative RT-PCR test results so he could order the resumption of the town hall’s operation. He appealed for his constituents’ understanding and patience. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. While closed, the municipal hall would be disinfected, particularly the SB session hall and mayor’s office. Esmeralda said all officials and employees of the municipal government – including himself – were now considered “persons under monitoring” and told to observe 14 days of home quarantine. ILOILO – Igbaras municipality’s first confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a member of its Sangguniang Bayan (SB). An alarmed Mayor Jaime Esmeralda, a physician, immediately suspended all work at the municipal hall yesterday and ordered it closed. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. The SB member’s first RT-PCR test was conducted on May 27 – part of the scaled-up community testing in the 1st District initiated by Cong. Janette Garin, former Health secretary. To date, there is no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. But possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. The result would be known in two to three days. Esmeralda, surprised by the result but very guarded, had the SB member undergo a rapid test immediately. The result further made him uncertain – the SB member tested negative for COVID. The COVID-positive Igbaras SB member is the region’s 114th case. Asymptomatic, he is on home quarantine.