BAGUIO CITY March 23 – The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) confirmed that there are now two confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) cases in the region following the positive confirmatory test results for the contagious disease of a 61-year old Baguio-based Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who arrived in the city last March 2, 2020.
DOH-CAR regional director Dr. Amelita M. Pangilinan said that upon arrival in the city, the OFW, who had been working in Italy for over 20 years, showed mild symptoms of the deadly virus and underwent medical checkup last March 7, 2020 for COVID worsening symptoms.
The DOH-CAR official that based on the contract tracing done by the epimdiologists of the City Health Services Office, the OFW had series of travels to nearby Sablan and Itogon towns in Benguet and that her contacts were already identified and had been advised to undergo the prescribed 14-day strict home quarantine, especially if they do not possess the COVID symptoms.
CHSO infectious cluster head Dr. Donabel Tubera said that during the conduct of the contact tracing, the family members of the confirmed COVID-19 case in Baguio City were very cooperative and that they were able to identify her close contacts through the records on her cellphone that had been freely divulged to those that undertook the required contact tracing.
Tubera disclosed that the confirmed COVID-19 case in the city is now in stable condition undergoing recovery in a local health facility.
Earlier, a 39-year old seaman from Manabo, Abra tested positive for COVID-19 last March 14, 2020 and is now doing well at the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC) in San Fernando City, La Union.
Pangilinan disclosed that the first COVID-19 case in the region is simply awaiting his second test results from the Manila-based Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for him to be given the necessary clean bill of health as he is on his way to full recovery.
According to her, the release of the confirmatory test results from the RITM is now taking a longer period of time considering the influx of initial screening results from the designated sub-national testing centers in the country that is why the health department is now designating some three other government hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR) as reference laboratories and referral hospitals for COVID-19 patients.
Based on established guidelines, the DOH-CAR regional director explained that there are 3 levels of categorizing COVID-19 patients that include the level in which they are classified to be persons under investigation based on initial screening, presumptive COVID-19 cases if they test positive in the sub-national testing centers and subject to confirmatory tests results and confirmed COVID-19 cases once their confirmatory test results turn out to be positive.
She appealed to the public for their utmost understanding and cooperation in the health protocols that are being implemented because the same will be beneficial to the greater majority of the people since what is important is for the people to heed the call of health authorities for them to stay at home during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
By Dexter A. See