South Cotabato governor goes into isolation as son, 9 other kin contract COVID-19

South Cotabato governor goes into isolation as son, 9 other kin contract COVID-19

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 17 December) – South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr. confirmed Thursday he went into isolation with his young son after the child contracted the highly contagious and deadly novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“My son Thirdy, 7, got hit by COVID-19,” the governor said. “My wife is immuno-compromised. I have no choice, even if I was tested negative, (but) to be with him for the next 14 days in the isolation facility.”

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr. speaks to the media regarding the province’s measures against COVID-19 at his office in Koronadal City on March 16, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Provincial Information Office)

Tamayo said in a radio interview that nine other clan members also tested positive for the virus and have been isolated. He did not identify them, citing their rights to privacy.

The governor said he was expecting to be infected by the virus for staying with his child in an undisclosed isolation facility.

He said “he was alarmed since their family has been observing strict measures to avoid contracting COVID-19.”

The governor suspected that “an asymptomatic employee could have spread the virus to their clan.”

Thirdy is asymptomatic, said Tamayo, who posted on social media photos of them sleeping together.

Since his wife has a weak immune system, Tamayo said he was forced to be with the child, as “letting him alone might make the son depressed that may cause his immune system to weaken.”

“Until now that he’s seven years old, he’s still sleeping with us. He still does not want to transfer to his own room. He cannot sleep alone,” Tamayo said.

Tamayo discouraged the public to hold or attend gatherings and parties during the Christmas season since the coronavirus continues to be a real danger.

“People must be fearful of the coronavirus,” he reminded the public, noting, however, that “he lost his fear to be infected with COVID-19 because the life of his son is involved.”

But even in isolation, Tamayo said he is working through a virtual office.

He said the provincial government continues to function normally, ran by the provincial administrator and the vice governor.

In line with the province’s efforts to fight COVID-19, Tamayo said they have ordered swab test kits overseas to augment the stocks provided by the Department of Health for South Cotabato.

He added that the designated COVID-19 hospital is ready to accept patients severely sickened by the virus.

As of Wednesday evening, December 16, South Cotabato recorded 1,085 COVID-19 cases with 978 recoveries, 83 active cases and 24 deaths, data from the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office showed.

Ten new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Tupi town, the bailiwick of the Tamayo clan, bringing the municipality’s total to 66, the third highest for South Cotabato.

Koronadal City, the provincial capital, has the highest COVID-19 cases with 491 followed by Polomolok town with 314. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)