South Cotabato now tracing contacts of 2 returning residents

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 7 July) – Contact-tracing activities are now ongoing for two more returning residents of South Cotabato province who have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

South Cotabato. Map courtesy of Google

The latest patients, which brought the positive cases for COVID-19 in the province to 20, were confirmed in a situation report issued on Monday night by the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12.

The first patient was a 21-year-old female with travel history from Pasay City and arrived in the province last July 5 while the second was a 20-year-old male who returned home from Cebu via Davao City on July 2.

Rolly Doane Aquino, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said the two came out positive of COVID-19 in the confirmatory Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction tests.

“They are in stable condition and remain isolated,” he said in the local government’s regular radio program over station Radyo Milenyo on Tuesday.

The municipal government of Surallah, which confirmed the second patient as the area’s first-ever COVID-19 case, has already started the tracing of all persons who possibly had close contact with the latter.

It specifically cited the patient’s co-passengers on the commercial flight from Cebu to Davao, on the provincial government bus trip to the province, and the ambulance of Sto. Nino town that brought him to Surallah.

Aquino said the patients were among the more than 2,000 returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and locally-stranded individuals (LSIs) who were already catered since May by the Balik Probinsya team of the provincial government.

He said they were ferried directly by vehicles commissioned by the local government from the airports and turned over upon arrival in Koronadal City, the province’s capital, to their respective local government units.

The official said all repatriated OFWs and LSIs were all complying with the mandatory 14-day quarantine and local health workers were making sure that none of them will breach the health and safety protocols.

Aquino said the provincial government will continue to facilitate the repatriation of stranded residents to ensure that all of them will be properly isolated and quarantined upon arrival in the area.

It will facilitate the immediate treatment and faster contact-tracing for repatriates who will turn out positive of the disease, he said.

“If we will not assist and fetch our OFWs and LSIs, we will not be able to stop them from directly going to their families and communities, and that will be a big problem if some of them was infected with the virus,” Aquino said.

Of the province’s 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 16 have already recovered and four patients were under close observation as of Tuesday morning in the designated “Ligtas” municipal isolation facilities.

Based on the DOH-12’s COVID-19 tracker as of 6 p.m. Monday, South Cotabato posted the most number of confirmed cases in the region so far with 20, followed by Sultan Kudarat with 19, Cotabato City with 15, North Cotabato with 10, Sarangani with nine and this city with four. (MindaNews)