4 COVID deaths, 44 cases in House

THE House of Representatives on Sunday documented the case of the late Senior Citizens party-list Rep. Francisco “Jun” Datol Jr. as the institution’s fourth fatality due to coronavirus disease-19  (COVID-19).

House Secretary General Atty. Jose Luis G. Montales admitted that the  case of Datol was the 43rd COVID-19 infection in Batasan Complex.

But Montales’ confirmation came after House reporters inquired on him  why his latest COVID-19 bulletin late Sunday afternoon was the 44th case when the last report he issued only covered the 41st and 42nd  cases and without counting the death of Datol who died Monday last  week.

On Sunday, Montales announced the 44th COVID-19 case in the House of  Representatives.

“An employee from the Plenary Support Service has tested positive for  COVID-19.  She was a close contact of our confirmed case from the  Committee on Rules. She reported for work on Aug. 3-5. Contact tracing  is ongoing,” Montales said in his advisory sent to House reporters.

Sources said that the latest incident could be a case of work  transmission after the latest case had a close contact with the  earlier confirmed COVID-19 case from the House committee on rules,  prompting House employees to continue demanding a mass testing for the  deadly disease.

“This is a clear case of work transmission. We hope that mass testing will be considered now by our House leaders to ensure the safety of  employees and officials. Kawawa ang mga pumapasok sa Batasan,” an employee who refused to be named said.

Last July, a 52-year old employee of the Bills & Index Service who  earlier tested positive for COVID-19 died and considered as the House  of Representatives’ third fatality.

The House of Representatives recorded its first death last March 16  and the second case was on March 21.

Four lawmakers, namely, Bulacan Rep. Henry Villarica and Sulu Rep.  Shamier Tan and Deputy Speakers Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur and  Mujiv Hataman of Basilan were among those who have caught the disease.

Earlier, Montales bared a summary of COVID 19 cases and an analysis of  transmission circumstances in the House of Representatives that his  office prepared where there was no work transmission.

“The data strongly suggest that most of the confirmed cases were  infected outside of HRep, i.e., while in their home province/city,  while working from home, with no exposure to confirmed case in HRep,  or got infected by a family member who does not work in HREp,” said  Montales.