QC firms under probe for failure to report COVID-19 cases, non-compliance with health protocols

The Quezon City government is investigating several companies for their failure to inform the City Health Department (CHD) regarding alleged positive cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in their workplace.

The local government is also looking into reports that some of them have not complied with standard health protocols, such as the use of thermal scanners and the observance of social distancing and mass gathering directives.

According to Dr. Rolando Cruz, head of the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU), these firms were reported by concerned citizens through the unit’s contact tracing hotline and e-mail.

“We have sent these firms a letter requiring them to cooperate with us during our investigation, and to provide us with documents that will clearly tell us the health status of their employees,” Cruz said.

The firms have been given 24 hours to answer the communication sent by CESU, after which an on-site investigation and contact tracing will be conducted.

Mayor Joy Belmonte said these firms will face penalties and other corresponding charges for violation of Republic Act No. 11332 if proven to have deliberately lied about the health situation of their employees or refused to comply with safety protocols.

The lady Mayor added that hotels booked by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) as host for COVID-19 positive patients must also report to the city, otherwise they can be held liable under RA No. 11332 as well.

“We call on all companies, business establishments, private subdivisions and condominiums in the city to cooperate with us in our efforts to combat the disease as well as maintain a safe environment by following all health protocols,” said Belmonte.

According to City Attorney Nino Casimiro, the said law mandates public health authorities to ensure mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases and health events of public health concern, among others.

“Any breach of protocol will make you liable under the law for endangering the health and lives of your employees, and of the neighboring communities,” Casimiro said.

Cruz, for his part, urged citizens to report erring companies through the contact tracing hotlines 8703-2759, 8703-4398, 0916-1228628, 0908-6398086, 0931-0957737; or via email at qcsurveillance@quezoncity.gov.ph and qcsurveillance@gmail.com.

“They can also reach us if they believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 patients, or experiencing symptoms of the disease,” said Cruz.

The hotlines are open from Monday to Saturday, between 8AM and 5PM.