92 Cotabato City health personnel placed under 14-day quarantine

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 21 June) – Ninety-two health workers of the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) here have been placed under 14-day quarantine after being exposed to a boy from Lanao del Sur who died and was found positive of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in Cotabato City photographed in March 2020. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

The CRMC, according to Dr. Helen Yambao, chief of hospital ng CRMC, will have to undergo a week-long shutdown for decontamination.

She said they are temporarily not accepting any more patients for now, not even critical cases, except the life-threatening ones.

The three-year-old boy from Malabang, Lanao del Sur was rushed to the CRMC Friday last week when local doctors could not figure out what was wrong with him, according to Bangsamoro Minister for Interior and Local Government Naguib Sinarimbo.

The boy was “already very weak when admitted” at CRMC, Yambao said.

Shiela Ganda, Lanao del Sur Inter-Agency COVID-19 Task Force focal person, said the boy was the fourth person from Lanao del Sur who died of the virus.

Yambao said affected areas at CRMC include the intensive care unit and the medical, pediatrics and surgical wards.

She said 20 of the 92 medical workers have been swabbed for the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. The CRMC has its own facilities for the confirmatory RT-PCR test.

The 20 health workers, she said, will be isolated at the Cotabato City Ligtas COVID-19 isolation facility while the rest will be quarantined in hospital facilities.

She said they could not accommodate all 92 health workers anymore because they are still taking care of 12 confirmed COVID-19 patients undergoing medication and 11 more suspects who are under close observation.

“Cotabato City is on red alert status,” said Dr. Meyasser Patadon, the city health chief. He added they are now doing massive contact tracing tapping all barangays to prevent local transmission.

Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi has issued Executive Order 356 that prohibits the entry of anyone to the city villages without certificate of acceptance from the barangay government.

Many of those who tested positive of COVID-19 were from outside the city but accompanying family members are temporarily staying with relatives residing in the city.

Guiani-Sayadi said before a non-resident can stay in the city, he or she has to undergo rapid test and that a bona fide resident would certify that the latter personally knows the person before a certificate of acceptance is issued. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)