BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental logged nine COVID-19 related deaths for the month of October as it comes to end, according to a report of the Provincial Incident Management Team.
Active cases also went up by about 100 percent, as it rose to 180 on Oct. 27, compared to 86 on Oct. 14, PIMT records showed.
This developed as the wearing of face masks in both indoor and outdoor settings is now voluntary.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. yesterday issued Executive Order (EO) No. 7, that allows optional face mask use and reiterating the continued implementation of public health emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the order, the wearing of face masks is still mandatory in healthcare facilities, medical transport vehicles and public transportation.
The elderly, persons with comorbidities, immunocompromised individuals, pregnant women, unvaccinated individuals, and symptomatic persons are encouraged to wear a face mask.
Minimum public health standards (MPHS) to prevent COVID-19 spread will still be implemented.
Health protocols to prevent COVID-19 infection include hand hygiene, frequent hand-washing, observance of physical distancing, and maintenance of good ventilation, especially indoors.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang earlier said that they are ready abide with any guidance from the national government to make face mask wearing voluntary indoors.
Tumimbang, however, said it will be up to the people to decide whether to wear their face masks or not indoors, for their own protection and health reasons.
From March 27, 2020, up to Oct. 27 this year, Negros Occidental has recorded 43,268 COVID-19 cases, of which 41,055 have recovered, with 2,032 deaths.*