Davao derby-goers from Agusan Sur told to submit to COVID-19 test

A Claret cock, one of the favorite breeds among cockfighting enthusiasts. Contributed photo

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 23 April) — Gov. Santiago Cane Jr. has called on individuals who went to the six-cock derby at New Davao Matina Gallera last month to voluntarily submit themselves to testing for COVID-19.

Cane made the appeal after the Provincial COVID-19 Task Force received on Wednesday some 225 testing kits donated by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri which were distributed to the five provinces of Caraga region.

The governor offered the test for free to the derby-goers and their household members and assured them their identities will remain confidential.

“We will not reveal your names in the public as we just want to make sure you are in the pink of health including your family,” he said in a post in social media Wednesday morning.

Cane advised the derby-goers to just call their barangay health workers, barangay chairs and mayors to arrange the test. “You don’t have to go out of the house as BHWs will visit you in your home to conduct the test.”

The governor’s notice came a day after the Department of Health’s Center For Health Development Caraga announced the region’s third confirmed COVID-19 patient, a 10-year-old girl in Butuan City whose father attended the derby.

With the availability of testing kits, some 20 derby attendees in San Francisco town will now have a chance to get tested 42 days after the event and after completing their home quarantine.

Dr. Eddie Cabanban, municipal health officer of San Francisco, said he asked them to go on a 28-day quarantine, but no swab samples for laboratory testing were taken from them since there were no available testing kits at the Rural Health Unit and even at the Provincial Health Office.

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.

Cabanban said barangay health workers visited the houses of at least 20 residents who went to the Davao derby when news broke out early this month on the rising COVID-19 deaths that were traced to those who attended it. He said he immediately had them placed under home quarantine.

He said COVID-19 testing kits which are available at the Department of Health Center For Health Development in Caraga Region are limited and priority are for probable COVID-19 cases.

Since no laboratory tests were done on those who went to the Davao derby, Cabanban said all of them were considered asymptomatic patients during the quarantine period but suspected of being COVID-19 carriers.

“If they are asymptomatic, we can no longer do anything about it since they did not show any symptoms,” Cabanban told MindaNews.

Cabanban, however assured that the barangay health workers are monitoring on them to check if they will manifest COVID-19 signs and symptoms even as they are already cleared by the Rural Health Unit.

To appease the worry of many residents of this town, he appealed to those who went to the derby – many of them businessmen and professionals — to submit themselves for a COVID-19 laboratory test at their own expense. (Chris V. Panganiban/MindaNews)