Returning SouthCot, GenSan residents tested positive of COVID-19

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 June) – Two more returning residents of South Cotabato and this city who were previously stranded in Metro Manila and Cebu have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), officials said on Tuesday.

South Cotabato. Map courtesy of Google

Arjohn Gangoso, health education and promotion officer of the Department Health (DOH)-Region 12, said the two were among the stranded residents who catered by “sweeper” flights arranged by local and national governments.

He said the first patient, a 29-year-old female from Tantangan town in South Cotabato, returned home from Manila last May 29, while the second, a 22-year-old female from this city, arrived from Cebu on May 31.

The two were confirmed positive of COVID-19 based on test results released on Monday afternoon by the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center in Koronadal City and the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in Cotabato City, respectively.

“They were so far in stable condition,” Gangoso said in an advisory on the status of the patients, who were the 31st and 32nd confirmed cases in Region 12 or Soccksargen.

Dr. Renato Oreta, municipal health officer of Tantangan, said the COVID-19 patient from their town is currently under isolation and closely monitored by health personnel at the municipal quarantine facility.

He said the patient, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who worked in Dubai, was subjected to swab collection last Saturday for Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test after manifesting suspected symptoms of the disease.

Oreta assured that the OFW, the first confirmed COVID-19 case for the municipality and the seventh for South Cotabato, did not have any direct contact with other persons upon arrival at the city international airport.

“From the airport, she and other returning (OFWs) on the same flight were brought directly to the quarantine facility,” he told reporters.

Oreta said the patient will undergo another RT-PCR test after 14 days.

Meantime, the patient from this city, the third confirmed case for the area, was already admitted at the city’s COVID-19 isolation facility at the Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital.

Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the locally stranded individual was on the same flight from Cebu with the city’s second COVID-19 case, the 22-year-old male student who tested positive of the disease last Friday.

He said contact-tracing activities were ongoing for the other passengers of the Cebu Pacific “sweeper” flight, which was arranged by the provincial government of South Cotabato.

Based on the DOH-12’s tracker, four of the 102 listed passengers of the special flight already tested positive for COVID-19, with two coming from this city and one each from South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

Rivera allayed worries of local residents on the latest confirmed case as the patient was properly monitored and isolated.

“We don’t have a documented case of local transmission for COVID-19 as of this time,” the mayor said in a radio interview.

He added that the second COVID-19 patient remains in stable condition and undergoing strict isolation. (MindaNews)