Four companies in Sta. Barbara urged to do mass testing

COVID-19 CONTAGION

FOUR more big companies operating in n Sta. Barbara were urged by the local government to conduct mass testing of their employees after 113 essential service workers of a big plant tested positive for COVID-19.

Mayor Joel Delos Santos said that coordination is ongoing with these companies whose workers go in and out of the town for the manufacture and distribution of their produce. (One is a soda plant while three others have their big warehouses here).

Out of 540 employees tested earlier, 135 were positive and 91 are from Sta. Barbara.

Operations of the affected plant were temporarily stopped since Oct. 3 after it was ordered locked down for 14 days.

A repeat swab test of their infected workers will be done before they can be allowed to return to work., Delos Santos said.

“This should serve as a wake-up call to other companies,” he said.

The mayor is appealing to neighboring local governments to allow his constituents to travel to their areas after residents complained of discrimination and were refused entry.

“I have instructed our police chief to coordinate with the provincial director and said that is not what is contained in the protocol of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF),” he said.

He expressed concern that his constituents were not able to report to work the other day because they were denied entry in nearby towns.

“Discrimination is very hard to deal with but they should understand that the patients are already contained in quarantine facilities and there’s nothing to worry about anymore and the police are already on alert in locked down barangays,” he said.

Mass testing for COVID-19 was done by the company concerned after a worker from Villasis town in their production section earlier tested positive of the virus.

Most of those who tested positive are contractual employees under a third-party scheme while only five are regular employees of the company. (PhilStar Wire Service/ECV)

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