San Juan Beach is Temporarily Closed for 15 Days

Last Updated on January 10, 2022 by Tina

Over the holidays, tourists flocked to the surf town in La Union. There were so many people at the beach you would think that it’s December 2019- when there was no pandemic, people were not wearing masks and were not practicing social distancing. Maybe because the daily number of confirmed cases in the country has been low for the past few weeks, people started to become complacent. A week and a day after New Year’s Day, San Juan Mayor’s Office announced the temporary closure of San Juan Beach from January 8 to 23, 2022. In addition, all establishments in the surfing area are also temporarily closed for 15 days to make way for contact tracing and to give ample time for thorough disinfection of the business establishments.

This is how it looked like a few days before Christmas 2021

What happened?

You may have read on the news of a female balikbayan named Gwyneth Anne Chua who breached quarantine protocols and attended a party in Makati. On December 22, 2021, she arrived from the United States and she was supposed to serve her mandatory quarantine at Berjaya Hotel. However, just 15 minutes after checking in, she left the hotel and returned three days later. She was then seen in social media posts at a bar in Poblacion, Makati City. On the 26th of December, she underwent an RT-PCR test and her result came out positive. Some news says she is a carrier of the Omicron Variant. On December 31, 15 of her close contacts tested positive for COVID-19.

On December 29, 2021, Kermit La Union, an Italian restaurant in San Juan had a fund-raising event where 100% of their sales will be donated to the families in Siargao affected by Typhoon Odette. Two of Chua’s close contacts attended the fund-raising event. On January 6, 2022, 18 out of 20 individuals who were at the said event tested positive for COVID-19.

On January 7, 2022, the Office of the Mayor of San Juan issued Executive Order No. 04-2022, placing granular lockdown at the surfing area in Barangay Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union. Aside from the temporary closure of the beach and all business establishments, all public and private events are prohibited during the duration of the lockdown. In addition, employees of all establishments in the surfing area and all tricycle drivers stationed at Urbiztondo Tricycle Terminals are required to undergo RT-PCR tests. All business establishments and residential areas in the surfing area shall undergo LGU-initiated disinfection starting January 10, 2022.

Hopefully, this granular lockdown will help stop the spread of the virus. You can read the details of  Executive Order No. 04-2022 here.

I May Be Covid Positive Too

The day after I got back to the site last week, our driver started having a fever. He had a fever for two days (January 5 and 6). I reported it to our boss and told him that once he gets better, we will go for an Antigen test. Our boss told us that in the meantime, we just assume that it’s Covid so the three of us in the staff house did self-isolation. I stopped doing afternoon walks. On the 7th of January, I started feeling cold. Then my body temperature started going up and the highest was 38.2 deg C.

Again I had to report it to our boss and our boss told me that we should go get tested already. Good thing the Rural Health Unit in Mankayan is doing Antigen tests for those who are exhibiting COVID symptoms because the nearest hospital doing Antigen tests is 45 minutes drive from our staff house.

Before doing the test, they conducted an interview of what I was feeling, if I have an itchy throat, etc. They also checked my body temperature (which was 36 dec C because I already took Paracetamol). They then told me to submit a urine sample, then did an Antigen test.

Our driver tested positive in his Antigen test, and I tested negative. When our driver’s test came out positive, they took swab samples from us for the RT-PCR test but we will get the result after 3 days because there is no laboratory here. The samples are sent to Baguio City.

The result of my urine test is that I have Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) so that may be the reason I had a fever. I was given an antibacterial medicine for that. And I really hope it was just UTI because when we got back to the staff house, I started having a fever again until the following day and I had a terrible headache. I was in bed all day, I couldn’t even get to watch a movie. I was also feeling slight discomfort in my throat, but it’s not itchy. Today, I’m feeling much better, and have no more fever. On the 11th, we’re going for an Antigen test again, and hopefully, it turns out negative too.

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