Iligan records first case of COVID-19 local transmission

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews s/ 8 July) – Health officials here announced Wednesday the city’s first case of local transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), prompting authorities to impose “focused containment” in the village where the patient resides.

A locally stranded individual is being checked upon disembarkation at the Iligan City pier. MindaNews file photo by RICHEL V. UMEL

Dr. Cherlina Cañaveral, city health officer, said that the patient dubbed as IC-21 is male, 31 years old, and resident of Purok Adelfa in Barangay Mahayahay.

She said the patient works for a private company but has been working from home since March, but on June 15, he went to Maranding in the municipality of Lala in Lanao del Norte for a work-related task.

Cañaveral said IC-21 was required to undergo COVID-19 test on July 1 in Cagayan de Oro City being conducted by a Mandaluyong-based private laboratory. Result of his reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, released last Sunday, showed he was positive, she added.

IC-21, said Cañaveral, is now in an isolation facility. Contract-tracing activities showed that the eight members of the patient’s immediate family are considered primary contacts and will undergo the RT-PCR test. The list of the 21 secondary contacts, she said, is still being finalized.

“I urge the public, especially residents of Mahayahay, that if you feel symptoms like fever, please inform the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team immediately and to seriously observe the health protocols, like wearing of face masks, handwashing and social distancing.

City Administrator Leony Roy Ga, a retired police colonel, said the local COVID-19 Task Force convened immediately initiate the generation of support as it imposes restrictions on Purok Adelfa and the adjacent Purok Gumamela. “No one is allowed to go out from their homes and enter the area within 14 days,” he said.

Col. Michael Pareja, city police director, said the police we will implement a focus containment based on the guidelines of the Department of Health.

He said police personnel will be deployed in strategic areas to secure the 249 families in the area. “We urge the public to stay calm and follow the health protocols to prevent further infection of the dreaded virus,” he added.

Pareja said some individuals have been apprehended and penalized for not wearing face masks. He added that 1,000 people have been apprehended for various quarantine offenses since it was imposed in March.

Mahayahay barangay chairman Joel Labandero said IC-21 had a group meeting at his residence over the weekend wherein some of the members are senior citizens and residents of Mahayahay, Tubod and Sta. Filomena.

Labandero said that IC-21 also has renters in his home who frequently come in close contact with the patient’s father.

Barangay Councilor Ray Manzanero, vice chair of the council’s committee on health, confirmed that the people IC-21 met in his home recently are being traced as secondary contacts.

The patient, said Manzanero, often visited one of the popular malls in Iligan where his girlfriend is working. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)