2 more returnees test positive for COVID-19 in SouthCot

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 June) – – Two more residents of South Cotabato who were stranded in Cebu and Metro Manila and who recently returned to the province have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), increasing the confirmed cases in the area to nine.

The new COVID-19 patients, both from Banga town, were among the stranded residents who were flown home in the last two weeks via the city international airport through “sweeper” and commercial flights.

Arjohn Gangoso, health education and promotion officer of the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12, said in an advisory on Friday night the first case was a 23-year-old female, a locally stranded individual (LSI), who arrived from Cebu last May 31.

The second patient was a 37-year-old female, an Overseas Filipino Worker from Kuwait, who returned home from Manila on June 10, he said.

Region 12 or Soccsksargen. Map courtesy of Google

The two came out positive of COVID-19 based on the results of the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests released on Friday afternoon by the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center in Koronadal City.

“They were in stable condition and undergoing strict quarantine,” Gangoso said, noting that the patients were the 36th and 37th confirmed cases in Soccsksargen.

Banga Mayor Albert Palencia said in a radio interview that the patients were subjected to RT-PCR confirmatory testing after turning out positive in the initial rapid or antibody diagnostic tests.

He said both have not manifested any symptom of the disease so far and were under strict quarantine at the Banga National High School compound, the town’s designated isolation facility.

“Our health personnel were closely monitoring their status and in case they develop symptoms, we will immediately transfer them to the COVID-19 Center,” he said, referring to the province’s treatment facility.

The mayor confirmed that the 23-year-old LSI was among the passengers of Cebu Pacific Air’s special flight 5J251 from Cebu last May 31 that has been linked to six confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Two passengers from this city and one each from South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat tested positive of the disease.

The “sweeper” flight, which was arranged by the provincial government of South Cotabato, had 102 passengers from various parts of Region 12 or Soccsksargen.

“She was the seatmate during the flight of the positive patient from Tampakan,” Palencia said.

The patient from Tampakan, the province’s first confirmed case from the flight, was in stable condition and confined at the COVID-19 Center of the Soccsksargen General Hospital in Surallah town.

Of the nine confirmed cases recorded in the province as of Friday night, the Integrated Provincial Health Office said five were classified as active and with the patients, all returning residents, undergoing treatment and isolation in separate facilities.

The first four cases, which were recorded in Koronadal City and the municipalities of Tboli, Banga and Polomolok, have fully recovered. (MindaNews)