2 more SouthCot returnees test positive for COVID-19

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 16 June) —  Two more returning residents in South Cotabato —  an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and locally-stranded individual (LSI) — have tested positive for the coronavirus disease  (COVID-19), bringing the active cases in the area since last week to seven.

The two new COVID-19 patients, the 40th and 41st recorded in Region 12 (Soccsksargen)  have brought the total cases in the province to 11.  The first four cases have already fully recovered.

South Cotabato. Map courtesy of Google

Hannah Ebeo, health education and promotion officer of the Integrated Provincial Health Office, said the latest cases were confirmed on Monday afternoon based on results of the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests released by the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center in Koronadal City.

She said the two patients, both from Tupi town, were in stable condition and undergoing strict quarantine at the designated municipal isolation facility.

“They were so far asymptomatic but under close observation by our health workers,” she said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Ebeo said the 45-year-old male OFW, a seafarer, arrived in Manila last June 8 and stayed in a hotel along with other returning overseas workers.

She said the latter was subjected to swab collection for RT-PCR test upon arrival and the result came out negative on June 11.

The seafarer returned home aboard a “sweeper” flight from Manila via the city international airport on June 13 and tested positive in the rapid diagnostic test upon arrival.

He was recommended by the Tupi Municipal Health Office to undergo another RT-PCR test and the result turned out positive.

Ebeo said the second patient, a 35-year-old male businessman, arrived in Tupi last June 11 via land travel from Manila along with another person.

The two traveled from Manila for three days starting June 8, passing the Matnog Port in Sorsogon and Leyte pier on June 9; and Surigao pier on June 10.

They traveled from Surigao City on June 11 passing parts of Davao region and arrived at around 1 p.m. in Tupi town.

Ebeo said the businessman turned out positive for COVID-19 upon arrival, during a rapid diagnostic test which was later confirmed  through the RT-PCR test.

The patient’s companion was subjected to swab collection on Monday. The result was expected to come out on Tuesday.

She said they forwarded to the Department of Health (DOH) the travel history and areas passed by the two for coordination with the other regions and for contact-tracing.

From May 25 to June 15, a total of 1,391 stranded residents have returned to the province, comprising 1,060 LSIs and 331 OFWs. (MindaNews)