GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 29 July) – Health personnel here are monitoring at least 60 persons who were traced to have had close contact with a returning resident who tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after being released from quarantine.
Lawyer Arnel Zapatos, city administrator, said Wednesday the patient and the identified close contacts are now properly isolated and under close observation by City Health Office (CHO) personnel.
The female patient, who was among the locally-stranded individuals (LSI) who returned home earlier this month, turned out positive of the disease after reportedly completing her mandatory quarantine.
Reports came out in the social media that the LSI was seen going out with friends in a local bar before her positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test result came out.
Zapatos said the contact-tracing activities are ongoing, with the surveillance team tracking up to the fourth level of contacts on orders from Mayor Ronnel Rivera.
“[As of] today, they’re actually doing the second level [of contact-tracing],” he said in an advisory.
In a “question hour” during the city council’s regular session on Tuesday, the official confirmed that the LSI had completed her quarantine and was eventually released.
But the patient’s name came up in the contact-tracing conducted for another confirmed COVID-19 patient from Cotabato City who was on the same flight with her, he said.
Zapatos said the female LSI later became symptomatic of the disease and quarantined again by the CHO.
The official assured that the city government has been strictly implementing the quarantine protocols for all returning LSIs and Overseas Filipino Workers to protect local communities from the possible spread of COVID-19.
He said CHO and other concerned agencies have been properly accounting for all passengers of commercial and “sweeper” flights that were arriving at the city international airport as well as those returning through other airports, and via land and sea travel.
Zapatos added that all returning residents are required to undergo 21-day mandatory quarantine and undergo health screening upon arrival.
As of Wednesday morning, the city already recorded 30 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with five recoveries.
CHO said the patients, all returning residents, were in stable condition. (MindaNews)