DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 March) – Mindanao’s six regions have recorded 18 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of March 25, from nine on March 23, two of them dead and while one recovered, 853 Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) with 10 deaths awaiting confirmatory results, and 43,160 Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs).
Nationwide as of March 25, the number of confirmed cases was at 636 with 38 deaths and 26 recoveries. By March 26 it was 70 cases with 48 deaths and 28 recoveries.
The Mindanao figures as of March 25 were collated by MindaNews based on reports from the Department of Health (DOH) in Regions 9 (Zamboanga), 10 (Northern Mindanao), 11 (Southern Mindanao), 12 (also known as Soccsksargen) and Caraga, and the Ministry of Health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The total number of confirmed cases actually reached 19 but is actually 18 because one is a double entry – PH40, Mindanao’s first confirmed COVID-19 case – as he is recorded under BARMM and also under Northern Mindanao although the latter states “captured non-region case” and “not from Region 10.”
Only Caraga region has no confirmed case as of March 25. It also has the lowest number of PUIs.
In Mindanao’s six regions on March 15, there were 338 PUIs and 13,927 PUMs. The number has more than doubled by March 25: 853 PUIs and 43,160 PUMs.
PUIs are those with signs and symptoms of fever, cough and/or colds and with travel history or residence in a country/area with reported local transmission of COVID-19 while PUMs are those with no signs and symptoms but have a travel history or residence in a country/area with reported local transmission of COVID-19.
Northern Mindanao has the most number of PUIs as of March 25, with 242, followed by the BARMM with 173, Zamboanga region with 143, Davao region with 141, Soccsksargen with 118 and Caraga with 36.
Davao region posted the highest number of PUMs as of March 25: 10,361 followed by Caraga with 6,692; BARMM with 6,162; Northern Mindanao with 3,984. But Zamboanga region has actually been topping the number of PUMs except that the Department of Health’s Center for Health Development in the region has not posted the number of PUMs on March 24 and 25. Its last record, which MindaNews added with the five other regions, was 11,223 as of March 23.
The numbers spiked following the announcement of President Rodrigo on March 12 of a lockdown of Metro Manila “to protect and defend you .. .from COVID-19.” He later expanded the coverage to the entire Luzon.
On the same night, the President announced there would be a travel ban to and from Metro Manila by land, sea and air effective March 15. The two-day notice triggered an exodus to the provinces, including Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities.
The numbers are staggering.
The surge in arrivals from the national capital has posed a problem to local government units in Mindanao, where health care facilities are not as equipped as Metro Manila’s.
Even Davao City, the hometown of President Duterte and the premiere city in Mindanao, has limitations in health care facilities and while the state-run Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) has been designated as sub-national laboratory for Mindanao COVID-19 cases, only 200 hundred testing kits had arrived as of March 25, according to SPMC medical director Leopoldo Vega.
In her March 15 address to explain the move to declare a “community quarantine,” Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said the city is facing a public health emergency on two fronts: “the Covid19 and the limitations of our health facilities to respond to a huge segment of our population getting infected with the coronavirus.”
“We do not have any confirmed cases as of the moment, but it will not be long before the reality of the disease will reach our doorsteps. And if many of us get sick, our city will be paralyzed and will be at a standstill. We need to ensure that no one gets sick and if we do get patients, we need to be able to respond to them and at the same time, prevent the further spread of the disease,” she said.
Davao region posted its first confirmed case evening of March 15, PH140, a 21-year old nursing aide from Davao de Oro who arrived from the United Kingdom to Davao City via Doha, Qatar and Manila. She has recovered.
On March 21, two more confirmed cases were recorded – a husband and wife, both aged 47. Another two days later, three more confirmed cases were recorded bringing to six the total in the Davao region.
All six had a common factor: a history of travel to Metro Manila.
DOH Davao director Annabelle Yumang on March 19 attributed the spike to “awareness” and because “we have also many people coming in from Metro Manila” following the announcement of a lockdown there.
Yumang said those who arrived from Manila are all considered PUMs.
“Daghan baya kaayo … daghan kaayo gikan sa Manila (There were so many… there were so many who came from Manila), she told reporters via online press conference on March 19. Yumang said they must undergo “strict home quarantine” for 14 days.
Yumang explained that since there are PUMs, “nag-increase pud atong PUIs kay naay uban ana nga nagkasakit pud” (the number of PUIs also increased because some of them got sick).
Cases per region
In the Davao region, six confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported, one of whom has been discharged from the hospital.
The number of PUIs rose from 50 on March 15 to 88 to 141 on March 25, of which 71 are admitted and 61 discharged.
The number of PUMs rose from 717 on March 15 to 10,361 on March 25, 3,589 of them “cleared” while 6,771 are “under observation.” (On March 26, the Davao region’s PUIs had reached 158, and by March 27, 176. The number of PUMs on March 26 was 12,316 and 13,825 by March 27)
The Davao region comprises the five Davao provinces – de Oro, del Norte, del Sur, Occidental and Oriental – and the cities of Davao, Tagum, Panabo, Samal, Digos and Mati.
In Region 9, the DOH reported one confirmed case, a 29-year old male with travel history from Manila, and one PUI death although the results later showed the patient tested negative.
The number of PUIs rose from 9 on March 15 to 143 on March 24, of which 14 are admitted and specimens have been collected from 45.
Thirty-five tested negative.
The number of PUMs on March 15 was 309. On March19, it was 2,991 and by March 23, 11,223. The DOH-Zamboanga has not posted data on the PUMs on March 24 and 25.
Zamboanga region comprises the three Zamboanga provinces – del Norte, del Sur and Sibugay – and the cities of Zamboanga, Dapitan, Dipolog, Pagadian, and Isabela in Basilan.
In Region 10, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is five, with one “captured Region 10 case” and four “captured non-region” cases, referring to patients coming from another region but referred to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center. One of the four “captured non-region” cases died – PH 40, the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Mindanao, with history of travel from Manila.
The number of PUIs increased from 108 on March 18 to 242 on March 25, of which five have been reported to have died pending release of confirmatory results, 19 are admitted , 131 on home quarantine, 51 labeled “quarantine done,” and 36 discharged.
The number of PUMs on March 18 was 1,477. By March 25, it was 3,984. (On March 26, the DOH-Northern Mindanao recorded 252 PUIs and 3,993 PUMs).
Northern Mindanao comprises the provinces of Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental and the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Malaybalay, Valencia, Iligan, Oroquieta, Ozamiz, Tangub, Gingoog and El Salvador.
In Region 12, there are three confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The number of PUIs was 35 on March 18 and 118 by March 25. Of 118, the DOH recorded five deaths awaiting lab results, 23 admitted, 24 discharged and 66 on home quarantine.
The number of PUMs rose from 693 on March 18 to 4,738 on March 25 who have been classified as “ongoing home quarantine.”
Region 12 comprises the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
Caraga is the lone region with no confirmed COVID-19 case as of March 25.
The number of PUIs was five on March 15 and 36 by March 25, 12 of them admitted and 24 on “strict home quarantine.”
The number of PUMs rose from 0 on March 14 to 179 on March 15, 5.342 on March 21 and 6,692 on March 25, of which 1,961 have been cleared while they are “still monitoring” 4,731. (On March 26, the number of PUIs was 29 and 5,715 PUMs).
Caraga comprises the two Agusans – del Sur and del Norte and the two Surigaos – del Norte and del Sur, and Dinagat Islands, and the cities of Bayugan, Butuan, Cabadbaran, Bislig, Tandag, Surigao.
The BARMM posted four confirmed COVID-19 cases as of March 25, two admitted and two dead.
The two deaths refer to PH40 and PH201.
PH40 was from Lanao del Sur, moved to Manila during the Marawi Siege, returned recently from Manila, was first admitted on March 3 at the Adventist Medical Center in Iligan City then transferred to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City on March 8. He died on March 13.
PH 40 is also recorded in the report of the DOH-Northern Mindanao but indicated as “captured non-region” or not from Northern Mindanao. PH 40 is also recorded in the BARMM.
PH201, also from Lanao del Sur with travel history from Malaysia, was admitted at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City on March 10 and expired on March 17.
The number of PUIs was 43 on March 18 and 173 by March 25.
The BARMM data as of March 25 did not indicate how many are admitted among the PUIs and how many are under quarantine among the PUMs.
In the BARMM, the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 is monitoring not only those coming in from Manila but from Malaysia where some 215 Mindanao residents, most of them from the BARMM, attended a Tabligh gathering in Selangor on February 27 to March 1. The gathering has been traced as a major source of COVID-19 infection in Malaysia and in neighboring countries
At least two of the 18 confirmed cases were reported to have attended the Tabligh gathering.
BARMM comprises the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan. Cotabato CIty voted for inclusion in the BARMM last year but is still included in the region DOH Region 12. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)