Siargao Island no longer COVID-19 free

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 29 June) — After more than three months since Siargao Island was locked down in mid-March to prevent the spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) on Monday confirmed the presence of the virus on the island’s Del Carmen town.

Dr. Jose Llacuna, Jr., DOH-Caraga director, confirmed the first COVID-19 positive case on Siargao Island through the agency’s Facebook page as he noted the surging number of cases in Surigao del Norte.

As of June 29, Llacuna said that Surigao del Norte has 35 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the highest among the provinces in the region.

Del Carmen Vice Mayor Alfredo Coro, Jr., told MindaNews that the fist confirmed COVID-19 case in town is a locally stranded individual (LSI) from Cebu.

Dr. Terrence Kua, an official from the Provincial Health Office in Bad-as, Surigao del Norte, said the island’s first COVID-19 positive arrived in the area in the first week of June.

Kua said the first COVID-19 patient on the island is a 19-year-old female who travelled with her two other siblings from Cebu.

They left Cebu on June 5 via a 2GO vessel and arrived in Nasipit Port in Agusan del Norte the following day.

On June 8, they left Surigao City at 6 a.m. aboard M/V Vince Gabriel to Dapa Port.

Upon arrival on the island, she and her siblings subjected themselves to a home quarantine at the house of their grandmother in Del Carmen, according to Kua.

Kua said the patient tested positive during a rapid diagnostic testing a few days after their arrival in Siargao Island.

On June 24, swab samples were taken from her and submitted to a RT-PCR testing, with the positive COVID-19 result coming out Monday, Kua said, adding the patient is now confined at an isolation facility in Bad-as, Placer town in Surigao del Norte.

Her siblings, on the other hand, were found negative of the disease, Kua said.

Vice Mayor Coro said they already launched a contact-tracing since last week.

The COVID-19 cases in the Caraga region continue to surge with 22 cases added on June 29, bringing the total to 138, data from DOH-Caraga showed.

Of the five provinces comprising Caraga region, Surigao del Norte topped the list with 35 confirmed positive cases, followed by Agusan del Norte with 25, Agusan del Sur with 15, and Surigao del Sur with eight.

Dinagat Islands remains with zero COVID-19 case.

For the region’s cities, Butuan has the highest with 34 cases, followed by Surigao with 8, Bislig with 6, Cabadbaran with 5, and Bayugan and Tandag with one case each.