2 more PUIs, including a 3-month-old baby, die in South Cotabato

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 04 April) — Two more persons under investigation (PUIs), including a three-month-old baby, died in South Cotabato while awaiting the results of laboratory tests for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The announcement on the new PUI deaths came hours after South Cotabato Governor  Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr. extended the lockdown for another 10 days effective Saturday, April 4, to prevent the spread of the virus.

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr. speaks to the media regarding the province’s measures against COVID-19 at his office in Koronadal City on March 16, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Provincial Information Office)

Tamayo said the decision to extend the lockdown until April 14 was based on the recommendation of the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office and the Philippine Medical Society South Cotabato chapter.

The provincial government first imposed the lockdown for 14 days from March 21 to April 4.

Arjohn Gangoso, Department of Health –Region 12 (DOH-12) health education and promotion officer, said on Saturday morning that the two new PUI deaths in the region came from South Cotabato.

The three-month-old male died last March 31 due to “respiratory failure secondary to respiration pneumonia acute gastroenteritis with moderate to severe dehydration.” He had no travel history to places with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The other was a 74-year-old female who died also on March 31 due to “community acquired pneumonia IV high risk with hypoxia, acute myocardial infarction.” She also had no travel history to places with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

So far, there is only one confirmed COVID-19 case in South Cotabato, PH 2173, a 52-year-old male from T’boli town with a recent travel history to Metro Manila. The patient is in stable condition and under strict home quarantine.

Based on the latest data from the Department of Health –Region 12 (DOH-12), a total of nine PUIs have died in the entire region so far.

One tested positive for COVID-19, PH 600 from Sultan Kudarat province, five had negative results while three are awaiting results as of 5 p.m. on April 3.

Koronadal City

Gangoso said specimens in Region 12 or Soccsksargen are now being sent to  the Southern Philippines Medical Center  (SPMC) in Davao City, instead of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila.  The SPMC is the sub-national laboratory in Mindanao for COVID-19 and has started processing the specimens in Mindanao since the test kits arrived two weeks ago.

At least 51 PUIs in the region have been discharged from various hospitals, 24 still admitted and 107 under home quarantine, DOH-12 data showed.

Tamayo appealed to his constituents to heed the precautionary measures put in place by the province such as the curfew.

He stressed that transport of food and other consumer goods will be accorded unhampered access in the duration of the extended lockdown, which bars non-residents from entering the province. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)