Kidapawan bishop, priest test negative for virus

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Kidapawan’s FB page

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 23 October) – Bishop Colin Bagaforo of the Diocese of Kidapawan and a diocesan priest tested negative of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an official from the Cotabato Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) said on Friday.

IATF head Dr. Philbert Malaluan said Bagaforo and Fr. Charles Allan Nemenzo, chancellor and rector at the Seminary of the Diocese of Kidapawan, were tested three days after another diocesan priest whom they had close contact with turned out positive of the disease.

Malaluan said the two voluntarily underwent swabbing in a private COVID-19 facility. Both tested negative based on the results which came out recently.

The IATF official said he released the information about the results with the consent of the two Church officials.

The City Information Office (CIO) said the 27-year old COVID-positive priest was exposed to a confirmed case from nearby Matalam town, also in North Cotabato.

He was swabbed on October 18 and the test result came out the next day, the CIO said.

It added the priest was symptomatic and was placed at the city’s temporary treatment and monitoring facility.

As per contact-tracing the priest had 20 close contacts and 43 secondary contacts. His close contacts included Bagaforo and Nemenzo.

The CIO said all close and secondary contacts were isolated and regularly monitored by the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit.

Meanwhile, two more residents of the city tested positive of the virus on October 22, the Department of Health Center for Health Development in Region 12 said.

One is a physician who had direct contact with a COVID patient, and another is a locally-stranded individual from Manila, the DOH-12 said.

City Mayor Joseph Evangelista appealed for “maximum cooperation in observing our minimum health standards” saying the local government “strives to exhaust all means, like, stepping up treatment facility’s capability to cater to severe cases, increase in the number of quarantine facilities, electronic/digitized reporting mechanism for COVID-19 symptoms, and hiring of additional personnel to conduct contact-tracing.”

“Let us pray for our patients’ continuing recovery so that they may be free from the virus, and may be reintegrated into the community and their families,” he added. (Malu Cadeliña Manar/MindaNews)