GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 19 May) – Health and local officials in Sarangani have stepped up the implementation of control measures against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as the province recorded its first-ever confirmed case.
Dr. Arvin Alejandro, head of the Sarangani health office, said the extensive tracing was ongoing for persons who had close contact with the 70-year-old male patient who tested positive for the disease based on results released by the Southern Philippines Medical Center laboratory in Davao City.
The laboratory confirmation was first reported by the Department of Health-Region 12 in an advisory issued on Monday night.
It said the travel history of the patient, listed in stable condition and under strict quarantine, was still under investigation.
But Alejandro said the patient, who hails from Maitum town, has “no travel history.”
He said they do not consider the infection as a case of “local transmission” since it was the only confirmed incidence in the province so far.
Sarangani Vice Gov. Elmer de Peralta said in an interview over Brigada News TV here that the patient was first admitted at the Sarangani Medical Center last May 5 after manifesting flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and colds.
He said the patient, who was then classified as suspect COVID-19 case, was previously treated for pneumonia, tuberculosis and hypertension.
De Peralta, who is a doctor, said the family was immediately placed under isolation while health workers started the contact-tracing activities.
The official said the patient has already recovered from his symptoms and was about to be discharged from the hospital when the test result was released.
He assured that the local government-run hospital where the patient was admitted has been following the necessary health and safety protocols.
“We’re doing everything to contain this and we have continuing heightened monitoring in the entire province,” he said.
As recommended by Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon and Alejandro, De Peralta said the patient will be subjected Tuesday to rapid test.
If it turns out positive, he said swab samples will be taken anew from the latter for the confirmatory PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing.
De Peralta said members of the patient’s household, who have not shown possible signs and symptoms, and other identified close contacts will also be subjected to rapid tests.
“There’s the possibility of asymptomatic carriers for COVID-19 and we want to also check that,” he said.
Maitum Mayor Alexander Bryan Reganit urged residents to remain calm and cooperate with local authorities, especially on the observance of precautionary measures.
He said they should be honest if they have travel history outside the area and coordinate with health providers.
“We should all be responsible as everyone’s health is at stake here…. Please stay home as much as possible,” he said in a Facebook post. (MindaNews)