SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 18 April) – Caraga’s second confirmed COVID-19 case is a 65-year old male from Butuan City with no pre-existing medical condition and no history of travel but had “close contact with a relative” who went to the six-cock derby at the New Davao Matina Gallera last month, the Department of Health’s Center for Health-Development in Caraga region said in a press release issued Friday evening.
“As of April, 17, 2020, at 3 p.m. today, DOH Caraga confirms the second positive case for COVID-19 in the region,” the press release said, referring to CA PUI 51, who is presently admitted at the Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City.
The patient’s condition is “currently guarded with oxygen support but with signs of improvement,” it said, adding that “further contact tracing of patient’s close contacts is ongoing.”
Dr. Kenneth Jay-R Q. Alberca, pulmonologist and the hospital’s Operations Section Chief for the COVID 19 Outbreak, on Friday said the patient was referred to their hospital ten days ago “with complaints of fever, cough and progressive dyspnea with no known co-morbidities.”
On further questioning, he said, “we extracted a history that the patient has a close contact with a relative who went to ta six-cock derby held in Matina, Davao.”
Alberca said that given the patient’s history and the signs and symptoms, the hospital admitted him, swabbed him and sent the specimen to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City, the sub-national laboratory for COVID-19 testing in Midnanao.
While awaiting the results, Alberca said they managed the patient as Acute Respiratory Distress Yndrom (ARDS) due to pneumonia.
Three days later, the lab results showed the patient tested negative but Alberca noted that “putting together patient’s history with his signs and symptoms and the patient’s chest x-ray and laboratory showed otherwise. That is why I requested for a repeat swab to confirm my strong suspicion of COVID disease.”
The result of the repeat test showed the patient was positive of COVID-19.
Alberca explained they took a total of four specimens from the patient, one nasopharyngeal and one oropharyngeal 24 hours apart for the repeat test.
In a press release issued Friday afternoon, Dr. Cheryl Gotinga, OIC Chief of the Caraga Regional Hospital, said the reason they did a repeat test was “due to the high degree of suspicion” of Alberca “based on the patient’s history of exposure to a person under monitoring (PUM), the clinical manifestations, the laboratory and chest x-ray results.”
Caraga’s first confirmed case, also admitted at the CRH, had tested negative twice – the second test result arrived on Friday — and is due for discharge, Gotinga said.
All together, 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside Davao City have been traced to the New Davao Matina Gallera derby: eight in Davao del Norte (six of them with a shared history of attending the derby while two others are household members of those who were at the derby); two in Davao del Sur, two in North Cotabato and one each in South Cotabato, General Santos, Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon, Davao de Oro and now Butuan.
The Department of Health (DOH) in the Davao region has yet to give an update on how many of Davao City’s confirmed cases are traced to exposure at the Matina Gallera derby or had close contact with those who were infected at the derby.
As of 5 p.m. on April 17, the Davao region had 99 cases, 83 of them in Davao City.
In its April 11 press release, the DOH-Davao’s Center for Health Development said that based on the April 10 data of 87 confirmed cases, 13 deaths and 48 recoveries, 29 were traced to the Matina Gallera derby (25 “had exposure at Matina Gallera,” four “were exposed to confirmed cases who went to Matina Gallera).
The total number of 29, however, represents the regional count. Part of this count are the 11 cases outside Davao City but within the Davao region: 8 in Davao del Norte, two in Davao del Sur and one in Davao de Oro.
Of the 13 deaths as of April 10, six were linked to the derby: five who “had been to the Matina Gallera” including one who also had a history of travel from Manila and one was exposed to confirmed COVID-19 patient who had been to Matina Gallera.”
All the 13 deaths (16 as of April 17) are in Davao City.
MindaNews checked with DOH-Davao regional director Dr. Annabelle Yumang on Friday for an update on how many of the 99 cases are linked to the Matina Gallera derby but she sent no reply. (Chris V. Panganiban with a report from Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)