32 Davao derby-goers from Agusan Sur negative of virus in rapid test

The Rural Health Unit building in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. MindaNews photo by CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 24 April) – All 32 cockfighting aficionados here who went to the six-cock derby in New Davao Matina Gallera last month tested negative of coronavirus based on the results of the rapid testing by the Provincial Health Office.

The derby-goers voluntarily submitted themselves on Friday to a blood sample rapid testing procedure at the Rural Health Unit (RHU) to determine if they have been infected with the virus.

Of the 32, eight were newcomers whose addresses during their 28-day quarantine were not listed by the barangay health workers.

Dr. Eddie Cabanban, municipal health officer of San Francisco, said there is no more need for a reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction for confirmatory result since the blood samples did not show any reaction during the lab tests.

He said it is mandatory for the Davao derby-goers to surrender and submit to tests after the appeal by Gov. Santiago Cane Jr. over social media that the Provincial COVID-19 Task Force offered free testing especially intended for them.

The task force received on Wednesday 225 testing kits donated by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri which were distributed to the five provinces of Caraga region.

Cane has assured the identities of those who will avail of the blood sample testing will be treated with confidentiality.

Cabanban said the derby-goers personally went to the RHU for the testing by medical technologists wearing proper personal protective equipment to ensure that the performance of the blood sample collection would be safe.

He earlier asked the derby-goers to go on a 28-day quarantine pending the arrival of COVID testing kits.

The derby attracted thousands of cockfighters, breeders and handlers from all over the country vying for the 26-million peso prize pot, 17 million pesos of that for the champion.  The cockpit became the epicenter of COVID-19 cases not only in Davao but also in Mindanao as several confirmed cases had been traced to the Matina Gallera cluster.

Caraga’s second confirmed COVID-19 case, a  65-year old male from Butuan City had no pre-existing medical condition and no history of travel but had close contact with his son and his driver who went to the Davao derby. (Chris V. Panganiban/MindaNews)