GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 19 Aug) – At least four barangays and three communities in Polomolok town, South Cotabato province were placed under localized lockdown after the confirmed locally acquired and transmitted coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the area have increased to five as of Tuesday night.
Polomolok Mayor Honey Lumayag-Matti said the preemptive 14-day lockdown, which took effect Wednesday and will run until Sept. 2, was aimed to slow down and contain the spread of the disease in other parts of the municipality.
She said the affected areas were the entire Barangays Poblacion, Cannery, Silway 8, Magsaysay, Purok 1 and 4 of Koronadal Proper, and Purok Cassava of Maligo.
“The movement of residents in these areas are restricted. Only those going to work and needing to buy food and other essential supplies may leave their homes but should strictly follow the health and safety protocols,” she said in a public video message.
Based on the mayor’s Executive Order No. 37, only one family member is allowed access to the public market once a week and should carry their South Cotabato-COVID-19 Contact Tracing System (SC-CCTS) cards.
Workers should present their company identification cards or certificates of employment and bring their SC-CCTS cards.
All those allowed to go out of their homes are mandated to wear face masks, face shields and strictly observe safe physical distancing.
Residents in areas not covered by the lockdown should limit their movements to essential transactions and observe the curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Those aged 21 and below and 60 and above, pregnant women, persons with disabilities and suffering from illnesses are not allowed to leave their homes.
Matti said the local government, through the Municipal Health Office, will continue with the massive contact-tracing for their five active cases, which turned out to be “interconnected” although the Department of Health has to declare a local transmission in the area.
She said four of the cases were linked to the town’s third confirmed (Case No. 03) and first locally acquired case, a 25-year-old male agricultural worker from Barangay Cannery who tested positive for COVID-19 last Aug. 14.
Case No. 3 was traced to have attended a party last Aug. 2 that was joined by locally stranded individual who just “graduated” then from 14-day quarantine.
On Monday, she said the patient’s six-month-old son (Case No. 04) and two female medical workers aged 22 and 27 (Cases No. 05 and 06), both residents of Barangay Silway 8, turned out positive of the disease.
A 23-year-old female co-worker (Case No. 07) of Cases 05 and 06 also came out positive of COVID-19 on Tuesday, she said.
Matti said Cases 04 and 05 were directly exposed to Case 03 while the Cases 06 and 07 had exposure to Case 05.
The four adult patients were admitted in undisclosed private hospitals while the infant was under the care of his mother, who tested negative in a Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction testing, in an isolation facility, she said.
Through the electronic or digital logs of the SC-CCTS, the mayor said around 4,700 individuals initially came out as possible close contacts of the adult patients but the number has so far gone down to around 1,000 based on their assessment.
The remaining number was considered as the direct contacts of the patients when they visited some local establishments as recorded by the system, she said.
Matti said their surveillance teams are currently tracking other persons who possibly had direct contact with the COVID-19 patients.
“We are doing the best we can to contain this and the only way to do that is to limit the movements of our people,” she added. (MindaNews)