KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 21 June) – The number of COVID-19 cases in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) has doubled to 48 since June 1, with South Cotabato now having the most number of positives in the area at 16 cases, according to the the Department of Health’ Center regional office.
June 1 was Day 1 of the region’s shift from General Community Quarantine to the less restrictive Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
The COVID-19 cases doubled as local government units in the region allowed locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) to come home subject to quarantine protocols.
South Cotabato posted the highest number of COVID-19 cases at 16 out of 48 or a third of the total, as of 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 20.
South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr., said they expected the number of cases to increase with the return of LSIs and ROFs in the province.
He said the returning residents were subjected to quarantine protocols.
He stressed that no local transmission of the disease has been recorded in the province but added, “we should not let our guards down as there is still no vaccine or medicine for COVID-19.”
Data from the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) showed that at least 177 ROFs and 1,455 LSIs have returned to the province through the “Balik South Cotabato” program as of June 13.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, Jr. IPHO chief, said the RT- PCR (Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction) test results are now faster with the recent accreditation by the DOH of the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center, a private hospital in Koronadal City, as an accredited COVID-19 testing laboratory.
Previously, swab samples from the province were sent to the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City for confirmation through RT-PCR.
From 24 to 48
The DOH-12’s Center for Health Development recorded 24 COVID-19 cases in the region on June 1, with the highest in Cotabato City at 10, followed by North Cotabato with five, South Cotabato with four, Sultan Kudarat with three and Sarangani and General Santos City with one each.
A total of 18 patients out of the 24 recovered from the disease then.
Region 12’s record of 24 cases – maintained at that number from May 23, rose to 27 by June 3; 37 by June 12; 47 by June 17 and 48 by June 19.
Of the 48 confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, 16 are in South Cotabato, 15 in Cotabato City, six in Sultan Kudarat, five in North Cotabato and three each in General Santos and Sarangani.
The region has recorded only one death from COVID-19.
Cotabato City voted for inclusion in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) last year but has yet to be formally turned over to the Bangsamoro region. Cotabato City cases are recorded by the DOH in Region 12.
Out of 48 cases in the region, 24 or half the total number, have recovered from the disease, the DOH’s Center for Health Development in the region reported.
As of June 20 also, 64 patients suspected of COVID-19 infection have been admitted in various hospitals in the region, 21 of them in South Cotabato, 16 in North Cotabato, 12 in Sarangani, eight in Sultan Kudarat, five in General Santos City, and two in Cotabato City.
At least 45 suspect COVID-19 patients in the region have died.
Region 12 was placed under MGCQ from June 1 to 15, and extended until June 30. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)