Official photo of Vincy Vacalares, representing Cagayan de Oro City, for the Miss Universe Philippines competition. (Photo courtesy of Miss Universe Philippines)
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A candidate of the Ms. Universe Philippines 2020 from here has dropped out of the beauty pageant, disclosing in a Facebook post on Friday evening that she contracted the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
“With a heavy heart, allow me to break the news to all of you that I tested positive for Covid-19 past October 14. This means that I will not be able to continue with my journey to the Miss Universe Philippines crown this year,” 23-year-old Vincy Vacalares said.
The pageant contender said she and her team did their best to strictly follow all the health and safety protocols, “but still the virus hit me.”
“To those that I had close contact with, please inform the City Health Office so they can also check on your state (health status). I pray that you are safe from the virus,” Vacalares said.
Vacalares, however, did not offer details on how, when, and where she got infected with Covid-19.
She said she is now confined in a hospital in Metro Manila, and assured her family, friends, and supporters that she was “in good hands.”
“I sincerely apologize for what happened. Please be always on the lookout for your health and safety,” she added.
A graduate of Technology Communication Management from the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines in 2017, Vacalares is now a high school teacher at one of the private schools.
Not new to beauty contests, Vacalares was crowned third runner-up in the Ms. Cagayan de Oro 2019 pageant. She also won both titles in the Ms. El Salvador City and Ms. Camiguin in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Meanwhile, Mayor Oscar Moreno said Saturday while he acknowledged the statement of Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones about gradually shifting to face-to-face instruction in “low-risk areas,” but that he would like to put the city on “stable ground.”
Moreno said the city must deal with the increasing Covid-19 cases, noting the rising cases since the pandemic was declared in March.
As of Saturday, health officials said the city has a total of 1,212 cases, 383 of which remain active, with 775 recoveries.
Currently under the Modified General Community Quarantine, the city government has existing non-pharmaceutical interventions which include aggressive contact tracing and enforcement of minimum health protocols in public areas.
Dr. Gina Itchon, Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) research and development chief, said the cases would have been higher if the city had not implemented aggressive containment strategies early on.
“Our analysis of what accounted for the slight delay (in the surge of Covid-19 cases in Cagayan de Oro City) is the containment strategies of the City Hall which provided enough quarantine facilities very early on and we paid attention to our arrivals,” Itchon said.
She blamed the recent surge in Covid-19 cases on the “minority who didn´t comply (with the health protocols) that prevented the city from overcoming the virus. If not for them, the city´s situation would be a lot better.” (PNA)