More communities in GenSan put under lockdown as COVID-19 cases soar

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 7 September) – More communities here have been placed under localized lockdown after 20 more residents, including six frontliners, tested positive on Sunday for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The additional cases, the highest surge in a single day for the city since March, were among the 21 new infections in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) that were confirmed on Sunday night by the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12.

The lone case outside the city is a 24-year-old female locally-stranded individual from Surallah town, South Cotabato province who returned home from Metro Manila last September 4.

Arjohn Gangoso, DOH-12 health education and promotion officer, said massive contact tracing and surveillance activities are ongoing for the additional cases.

“Six of them were traced to have had exposure to COVID-19 patients,” he said in an advisory.

He said the exposure of the 14 others, one of whom expired in a private hospital here Sunday morning, is still subject to “further investigation.”

Gangoso said the latest fatality, which was reported as a resident of Barangay Bula, is a 54-year-old male who succumbed to “acute respiratory disease syndrome, high risk community acquired pneumonia and critical COVID-19.”

Since last week, the city already recorded five confirmed deaths due to locally acquired COVID-19 infection, with three patients expiring over the weekend.

A report from the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases said five of the new cases were medical personnel while one is a member of the civil security unit assigned at the local government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital.

It said the direct contacts of the two medical workers of a private hospital were already identified while the extensive contact tracing for the other patients was still ongoing.

Among the reported new infections included a dentist and midwife assigned in a barangay rural health unit, two canning plant workers and a priest.

The additional areas placed under zonal, street and home lockdowns for at least 24 hours over the weekend to facilitate the containment and contact tracing activities were portions of Barangays Lagao, Bula, Calumpang and San Isidro.

Two churches and a barangay hall complex were covered by the lockdown in Barangays Bula and San Isidro.

As of Sunday night, the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city already reached a total of 128, with five deaths and 49 already recovered and discharged, or a recovery rate of about 38 percent.

The City Health Office said the 73 active patients are currently undergoing treatment and quarantine in six private hospitals, two isolation facilities and one public patient care center.

One of the patients who earlier tested positive after arriving from Metro Manila remains under isolation in an undisclosed facility.

Since March, it said a total of 768 confirmatory Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction tests were already conducted in the city, with a positivity rate of about 17 percent at 128 positive cases. (MindaNews)