GenSan businessman who attended Davao derby tested COVID-19 positive

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 8 April) – A businessman here who traveled to Davao City last month for a cockfight derby has tested positive of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the first confirmed case in the city.

General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (left) listens to Dr. Jett Gajete-Oco explain the gravity of COVID-19 that is spreading across the country. GSCIO file photo

Mayor Ronnel Rivera said in a video message to the public on Tuesday night the 59-year-old person under investigation (PUI) turned out positive of COVID-19 based on the latest laboratory results released by the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12.

He said the businessman was among the cockfighting aficionados from the city who were earlier identified by the local government to have attended the Araw ng Dabaw 6-cock derby held from March 6 to 12 at the New Davao Matina Gallera.

The latter was able to return to the city before the implementation of the travel restriction and quarantine measures but was later traced and considered a PUI after manifesting suspected symptoms of COVID-19, the mayor said.

“He is currently admitted and isolated in a hospital, and closely monitored by our medical frontliners,” Rivera said.

A separate report released by the DOH-12 said the patient (PH 3669), the 11th confirmed case in Region 12 or Soccsksargen, was in “stable condition.”

Rivera said the City Health Office, in coordination with the barangay health emergency response teams, has stepped up the tracing of the patient’s other companions and persons who have had close contact with him.

The city’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases reported late last week that it tracked down at least seven of the derby attendees, with one considered a PUI and the six others as persons under monitoring (PUM).

But lawyer Arnel Zapatos, city administrator, said they received reports that there were at least 70 individuals from the city who attended the derby, which has been linked to a number of COVID-19 deaths and positive cases.

“Again, we repeat. Those who have recent travel histories should submit themselves to their respective barangay health workers. Lying will not do us (any) good,” Rivera said.

The mayor urged residents not to panic and be serious instead in complying with the strict community quarantine measures, remain in their homes and practice social and physical distancing.

The first COVID-19 positive case here was among the six confirmed in the last two days in Soccsksargen based on the situation report as of 5 p.m. Tuesday released by the DOH-12’s epidemiology and surveillance unit.

The region has now a total of 13 cases, nearly doubling from just seven, with one fatality, as of last Sunday.

The eighth confirmed case was a 56-year-old male from South Cotabato (PH 3268) while the 10th was a 45-year-old male from North Cotabato (PH 3272), who attended the Davao City cockfight derby.

The ninth positive case was a 38-year-old male from Sultan Kudarat (PH 3269) while the 12th was a 49-year-old female from Cotabato City (PH 3670), both with travel history to Davao City.

The 13th case was a 29-year-old female from North Cotabato (PH 3671) who has history of travel to Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Davao City.

The DOH-12 report said the six new COVID-19 patients were all in stable condition, with two currently admitted in hospitals, three under strict home quarantine and one confined in a local government isolation facility. (With a report from Richelyn Gubalani / MindaNews)