69-year old patient who died in Cagayan de Oro tested positive for COVID-19

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 25 April) — A 69-year-old man, who died at the Northern Mindanao Mindanao Medical Center last weekend, was a COVID-19 positive, laboratory results released on April 23 showed.

The result of  the swab specimen taken from Patient 6783, a resident of Pinikitan, Barangay Camaman-an here, stunned city officials who were already planning for a gradual opening of shopping malls and other stores next week.

“I was stunned when I heard about this. We have no admissions in the past four days,” Mayor Oscar Moreno said.

A police officer stops motorists at a checkpoint along Corrales Avenue in Cagayan de Oro City as curfew took effect Tuesday night (18 March 2020). City officials implemented a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Moreno said the patient died  on April 18 and doctors thought he died of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

“The patient was admitted at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center on the evening of April 17. He died in the early morning of April 18,” Moreno said.

“I was told in the afternoon of April 23,” Moreno added.

Dr. Joselito Retuya, chief epidemiologist of the City Health Office said they gathered all 16 family members of the patient and placed them in an isolation facility in the city.

He said the family members failed to give health officials a definite picture of the the travel history of the dead patient.

This failure to get the travel history of the patient has left authorities here stumped.

Moreno said the possibility that the patient was infected by local transmission will not be ruled out.

“If we do not have the answer to that question then chances are it is locally transmitted,” Moreno said.

Moreno said he would have to impose stricter  quarantine measures for the village of Pinikitan.

“I advised residents of Pinikitan not to go out of their houses,” Moreno said.

City hall has issued a memorandum requiring all its employees to state their home addresses.

“Those who reside in Pinikitan are advised not to report for work on Monday and work from home only,” the source said.

The death of the patient from Pinikitan, a densely populated urban community here came as Moreno and his staff planned the gradual reopening of malls and other stores next week.

President Rodrigo Duterte on April 23, classified Misamis Oriental including its component cities of Cagayan de Oro, Gingoog and El Salvador, under the General Community Quarantine areas.

Under the guidelines for General Community Quarantine areas, priority and essential construction projects would be resumed; and partial opening of shopping malls and non-leisure shops.

Moreno said he was favoring for a partial opening until the news that the patient  from Pinikitan came.  (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)