Alabel OFW returnee is third COVID-19 case in Sarangani

GENERAL SANTOS CITY  (MindaNews / 14 June) — A returning Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) from Alabel town in Sarangani has tested positive for the coronavirus disease  (COVID-19), the third confirmed case in the province.

Alabel Mayor Vic Paul Salarda said in a public address on Saturday night that the 28-year-old female patient was among two OFWs from the municipality who returned home on June 10 via the city international airport on board Cebu Pacific Air from Manila.

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He said the OFW was found positive of the disease based on the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test results relayed on Saturday afternoon by the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12.

“The patient was admitted in our hospital in Sarangani and currently under intensive care,” Salarda said, referring to the Sarangani Health Care Facility (SHCF), the province’s designated COVID-19 isolation and treatment center.

An advisory from DOH-12 said the patient, the 39th confirmed case in Region 12 (Soccsksargen), is in “stable condition.”

The mayor said the OFW, who arrived in Manila from Kuwait early this month, earlier tested negative for COVID-19 based on the RT-PCR test facilitated by the Philippine Red Cross.

She was given clearance to go home last June 10 despite undergoing quarantine for only seven days, he said.

Upon arrival, Salarda said the OFW already had severe cough and was ferried from the airport directly to the designated municipal isolation facility.

He said the latter was eventually transferred to the SHCF due to her “severe situation” and was subjected to swab collection for RT-PCR test, which came out positive for COVID-19.

Salarda said residents need not worry about the situation as their rescue personnel strictly followed the health and safety protocols on the handling of the patient.

He said none of the health workers had direct contact with her and all of them used proper personal protective equipment.

As to the other returning OFW, he said they already transferred her from the barangay to the municipal isolation facility and she is being closely monitored by municipal health personnel.

The mayor said the provincial government, through the Sarangani health office, has  started contact-tracing for the other passengers of the Cebu Pacific flight.

On Friday, an OFW from Banga town, South Cotabato who also returned home from Manila last June 10, tested positive for Covid-19.

Sarangani recorded last May 18 its first confirmed case for the disease but the 70-year-old patient has fully recovered.

A 23-year-old student from Glan town who returned home from Cebu last May 31 was also confirmed positive of COVID-19 last Thursday, June 11, but is now in stable condition. (MindaNews)