GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 30 April) – South Cotabato province is now considered cleared of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after its third and last confirmed patient so far has tested negative and declared to have fully recovered.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., chief of the Integrated Provincial Health Office, said in a press conference on Thursday the 59-year-old male patient (PH3772) from Koronadal City has turned out free from the virus on his third repeat test.
He said the patient, who has history of travel to Tacloban and Cebu cities, was confirmed positive for COVID-19 last April 8 and tested the same on his second swab sample.
Aturdido said the negative test result was released on Wednesday afternoon by the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12 based on the laboratory confirmation from the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.
“All our three confirmed cases were already negative and labeled as recovered by the DOH. So we now have zero case for COVID-19,” he said.
The first positive case, a 52-year-old male patient (PH2173) from T’boli town, was declared negative last April 15 while the second, a 56-year-old male (PH3268) from Banga, was cleared last April 24.
PH3772 was the 14th of the 16 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Region 12 or Soccsksargen who have recovered from the virus.
Aturdido said they were able to trace all persons who had close contact with the three patients and they completed the mandatory quarantine without manifesting any sign and symptom of the disease.
He said at least 100 suspected patients from parts of the province have already tested negative for COVID-19 and 11 were still awaiting laboratory confirmation.
“As of today, we don’t have any documented local or community transmission for COVID-19,” he said.
But Aturdido advised residents “not to let our guards down” and strictly comply with the safety and quarantine protocols.
He reiterated the practice of social or physical distancing, observance of proper hygiene measures like washing of hands and wearing of protective face masks when going out in public.
“We’re still facing a serious threat from COVID-19 as there are still areas that have increasing cases. So it’s best for everyone to remain vigilant and just stay home if possible,” he added. (MindaNews)