100 families in Cotabato town on quarantine after exposure to a COVID-19 positive

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 14 September) – At least 100 families from five “puroks” (districts) in two barangays (villages) in Makilala, North Cotabato were placed under a 14-day quarantine since Sunday for their alleged exposure to a patient tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kidapawan City, an official said.

Lito Canedo, head of the Municipal Information and Communication Office of Makilala town, said that 15 individuals have been subjected to a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing so far.

Canedo said they were among those traced by health workers from the Municipal Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (MESU) to have direct exposure to Cotabato Patient 82, a 32-year-old government employee working at the City Government of Kidapawan.

These included his parents, siblings and relatives who reside at Purok-7, Barangay Jose Rizal in Makilala.

Canedo said Cotabato Patient 82 also had drinking sessions with friends from two puroks, also in Barangay Jose Rizal.

He also attended a fiesta celebration in a purok in nearby Barangay Libertad, also in Makilala, the official said.

The MESU, with authority from the Cotabato provincial health office, placed under “focus containment” Puroks Marang and Rambutan in Barangay Libertad and Puroks 1, 2 and 7 in Barangay Jose Rizal, all in Makilala.

Cotabato Patient 82 was reportedly exposed to another government employee based in General Santos City (GenSan) late last month. The Department of Health – Region 12 (DOH-12) recorded several local transmission of the virus in GenSan, particularly at the fish port complex.

On August 29, Cotabato Patient 82 was brought to the Kidapawan City Hospital’s temporary treatment and monitoring facility for COVID-19 after he manifested a flu-like symptom, said Dr. Philbert Malaluan, Cotabato 2nd district board member and an official of the province’s Inter-agency Task Force on COVID-19.

On September 2, swab samples were taken from Cotabato Patient 82 for RT-PCR testing.

A statement from the City Government of Kidapawan, which was released online on September 13, said that Cotabato Patient 82 was discharged from the treatment facility on September 8 — following guidelines from the DOH-12 that after 10 days of isolation and the patient still remains asymptomatic, he is considered “clinically recovered,” thus can be discharged from the hospital.

The patient, however, has strict orders from the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit that he would be placed under home quarantine for another 14 days. A Barangay Health Emergency Response Team from the city’s Barangay Mua-an was assigned to monitor him.

But citing reports from reliable sources, Canedo said that Patient 82 left his house in Barangay Mua-an on September 8 and went to his parents’ residence in Barangay Jose Rizal in Makilala town where he stayed there for three days.

“We are glad that our officials in the two barangays promptly acted, and the MESU immediately conducted contact tracing after they were informed that Patient 82 went to Makilala.  We are hopeful we can contain the transmission of COVID-19,” Canedo said.

The City Government of Kidapawan is bent on filing a breach of quarantine protocol against Patient 82, a statement from its official Facebook page said.

Based on the September 13 data from DOH-12, North Cotabato has 27 active cases. Since March, the province recorded 83 COVID-19 cases with 54 recoveries.