5 GenSan media workers contract coronavirus

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DAVAO CITY — A total of five media practitioners working with Brigada News based in General Santos City were tested positive for Covid-19, which prompted the management to immediately implement massive disinfection of their building.

In a statement posted on Tuesday, September 22, the management revealed they commissioned a Davao-Based diagnostic firm to conduct Real-Time Reverse Transcription–Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing method to all employees of the station, after one of its frontliners tested positive of the virus.

The swab test showed four more employees contacted Covid-19, said Brigada Chief Executive Officer and President Elmer V. Catulpos, in a statement posted on their Facebook account.

Catulpos stated that the four employees joined the first employee in the company-owned isolation facility,

The said facility conforms to government health and safety guidelines as attested by the Rural Health Unit of Barangay San Isidro and approved no less by the local government of General Santos.

The company’s occupational health personnel immediately coordinated with the RHU for contact tracing of the new COVID-19 cases and have identified 13 personnel who were in direct contact with the 4.

The “direct contact personnel” were also immediately placed on quarantine under supervision by the RHU in a hotel facility that is being rented entirely by the company for such purpose.

Their families were also placed on strict home quarantine and close monitoring. All five infected personnel who are in isolation and those on quarantine remained in stable condition, with the company providing for their food and other necessities.

It is believed that the four got their infections elsewhere, outside company premises, considering the nature of their job of being always on fieldwork.

The first positive case reportedly came from the person’s constant exposure with police and security front-liners during law enforcement activities, Catulpos added.

The media company has vowed to provide everything for them and ensure that their dignity remains intact, and shall help them overcome discrimination as many of them already suffered humiliation from friends and family members.

The blaming and shaming of the infected must stop because they did not want this to happen to them, he said.“While the pandemic has forced us to be physically apart, it must not prevent us from being emotionally and spiritually close with each other,” remarked the Brigada founder who was emotional when he called over the phone each one of those in isolation and on quarantine.

Catulpos assured the sobbing employees that everything will turn out well and not to lose hope as Brigada will make it certain they will get the support they need to recover. “It is my lifetime commitment,” he said.

Since the start of the pandemic, he said, the company has adopted a work-from-home scheme among personnel to reduce the number of employees reporting for work in adherence to physical distancing.

The company has its own health and safety protocol to prevent COVID-19 in conformity to government regulations.

Catulpos said what happened to Brigada frontliners can also happen to anyone in this time of the pandemic, but, he also warned that no one must allow fear to overtake them. “If we do, it will only pull us down and make the situation we are in worse,” he noted.

Work continues in Brigada, which provides jobs to 1,000 men and women nationwide, with all personnel under strict instructions to adhere to the basic safety procedures of wearing facemask and face-shield, regular handwashing, and frequent use of alcohol.“We are all in this together and we will heal as one!” Catulpos said. Newsline.ph

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