GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 19 April) – South Cotabato officials advised residents on Monday to avoid unnecessary movements as they raised concern over the renewed surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the area in the last two weeks.
South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. said the local government, though the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), is closely monitoring the situation and implementing additional interventions to contain the increasing infections.
He said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan or provincial board has cancelled its regular session on Monday after one of its members had tested positive of COVID-19.
Board member Ester Marin Catorce earlier confirmed in a Facebook post that she was infected with the disease and exhibited mild symptoms.
Koronadal City Mayor Eliordo Ogena also came out positive on April 10 and was admitted in a local hospital but is now reportedly recovering.
Koronadal is the capital of South Cotabato and as the seat of Soccsksargen (Region 12), it hosts the regional offices of national government agencies.
Tamayo said he and several other mayors are undergoing quarantine due to previous exposure to Ogena during a mayor’s league meeting.
“I’m calling on everyone to be cautious, limit your movements if possible and always follow the minimum health protocols, especially the wearing of face mask and face shield, and the safe physical distancing,” he said via phone patch over his weekly radio program.
The governor said he discussed the situation in a virtual meeting on Sunday with local government doctors, especially those assigned at the province’s dedicated COVID-19 treatment facility at the Upper Valley Community Hospital in Surallah town.
He acknowledged that they are already exhausted with the situation and residents should recognize their sacrifices by helping fight the spread of the disease in local communities.
A report released by the IPHO over the weekend showed that the province recorded at least 162 COVID-19 cases or an average of 10 per day from April 1 to 15.
But as of Sunday night, the total infections since April 1 have increased to 210, with an average of 11 cases detected on a daily basis.
The confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province has already reached 1,949, with 52 related deaths and 1,719 recoveries. The 178 active cases, up by 126 from just 52 on April 1, is currently the highest in Region 12.
The province’s 10 towns and lone city only recorded a combined 123 cases from March 1 to April 1, IPHO records showed.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., IPHO chief, said in an advisory that 24 percent of the recorded infections so far are from the “active age group” of 21- to 30-years old and 23 percent from those aged 31- to 40-years old.
“Further clustering of COVID-19 cases is recorded from households and in government and private offices,” he said.
He “strongly advised” the public to practice the minimum health standards and “self-monitor at all times for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. (MindaNews)