GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 20 March) – A patient under investigation (PUI) for the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has died in Koronadal City after experiencing severe acute respiratory illness (Sari), a health official confirmed on Friday.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., chief of the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said the patient succumbed to suspected disease symptoms last Tuesday, March 17, a day after being tested for the deadly virus.
He said the swab samples taken from the deceased PUI was earlier sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for laboratory confirmation.
“We can’t say yet when the result will be released so this is not yet a confirmed Covid-19 case,” he said in a briefing at the provincial capitol in Koronadal City.
Aturdido said the case of the patient, who was diagnosed with Sari, was referred to him last March 15 by a pulmonologist.
He said they assessed the status and decided the following day, March 16, to have the patient tested for Covid-19 but the latter expired on March 17 while undergoing treatment.
Based on the new Covid-19 algorithm issued on March 18 by the Department of Health (DOH), he said the deceased was considered a PUI due to the Sari diagnosis.
He said they are still determining whether the deceased PUI had history of travel and exposure to confirmed Covid-19 cases.
“If that is not the case and the test result will turn out positive, then there is probability that Covid-19 is already in the community,” he said.
The case was the second death reported in Region 12 or Soccsksargen involving a PUI. An 87-year-old patient died last March 14 in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat due to suspected Covid-19 symptoms while awaiting laboratory confirmation.
Although there has been no laboratory-confirmed case yet for Covid-19 in the area, Aturdido urged residents to stay home and practice necessary preventive measures.
The provincial government, through Executive Order No. 18 issued on Friday by Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr., has placed the entire province under enhanced community quarantine and calibrated total lockdown for 14 days starting midnight to contain the spread of the disease.
As of 6 p.m. Thursday, the IPHO’s epidemiology and surveillance unit reported that a total of 1,813 persons under monitoring (PUM) for the disease are currently undergoing mandatory home quarantine in parts of the province.
It said some 353 PUMs already completed the 14-day observation protocol and considered cleared.
For the PUI, 13 persons with “severe symptoms” were admitted in various hospitals while nine were listed as discharged.
The laboratory-confirmed negative cases remained at five while the results of 17 others, including the lone reported mortality, were still pending.
Aturdido said all laboratory samples from the province were sent to the RITM, which is based in Muntinlupa City, and the release of the results could take some time due to the volume of cases it was handling.
But he said they were informed by DOH personnel in Davao Region that the satellite testing facility at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City is now ready to accept samples for laboratory confirmation.
He said they have coordinated with the DOH-12’s epidemiology and surveillance unit regarding the endorsement of samples to SPMC.
Also on Friday, however, Dr. Ricardo Audan, SPMC chief of clinics and health energy said the hospital needs 1,000 test kits to respond to a possible increase in the number of patients who would need to undergo the tests. (MindaNews)