GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 14 April) – Health authorities in South Cotabato declared all 14 patients under investigation (PUI) for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) who died in the province since last month due to suspected symptoms as negative from the virus.
Hannah Ebeo, health education and promotion officer of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said their assessment showed that the deceased patients succumbed to severe respiratory-related infections that were not caused by COVID-19.
She said most of them died with still pending laboratory confirmation but eventually turned out negative.
The IPHO earlier reported that at least four of the deceased PUIs were not tested as no swab samples were collected before they expired.
“All 14 mortality cases involving PUIs previously admitted in our COVID-19 referral facility and other private hospitals showed negative results and they died due to other illnesses,” she told reporters.
The latest fatality, an 80-year-old patient who expired last April 11, tested negative of the disease based on a report from the Department of Health-Region 12.
It said the PUI died due to sepsis secondary to community-acquired pneumonia, decubitus ulcer and acute renal failure.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, the DOH-12 already recorded a total of 17 PUI deaths in the region, with 14 coming from South Cotabato.
Ebeo said the province’s confirmed COVID-19 cases remained at three so far and all of them have travel history outside the area.
The first confirmed case, a 52-year-old patient (PH2173) from Tboli town, came from Metro Manila while the second, a 56-year-old man (PH3268) from Banga, attended a cockfight derby in Davao City last month that was linked to a number of COVID-19 deaths and positive cases.
The third case was a 59-year-old male (PH 3772) with travel history to Tacloban and Cebu cities.
Ebeo said the three have already recovered from their symptoms and undergoing strict home quarantine.
She said at least 25 persons who were traced to have previously made close contact with PH 3268 and 26 others linked to PH 3772 were undergoing observation and monitoring by the local health offices and barangay health emergency response teams.
At least 39 individuals had been traced to have joined the Araw ng Dabaw six-cock derby last month at the New Davao Matina Gallera and all did not manifest any sign and symptom of the disease so far, she said.
Ebeo called on the other participants of that derby who have not yet come out to present themselves voluntarily to local health workers. (MindaNews)