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First COVID-19 positive patient in Mindanao died

March 14, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The first COVID -19 positive patient, numbered 40, in Mindanao died Friday at the government-owned Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), health officials said. Regional Director Adriano Suba-an, of the Department of Health (DOH), made the confirmation during a press conference Saturday. He said that the COVID-19 positive patient, admitted at the NMMC Wednesday, expired about 9 p.m. Friday of acute pneumonia. Suba-an said that the victim was the first positive COVID-19 patient to have died of the illness in Mindanao. The patient number 40, a Moslem came from Lanao Del Sur, was initially confined at the Adventist Medical Center in Iligan City before he as transferred to Cagayan De Oro City. Suba-an said that patient, originally came from Manila, was admitted to a hospital in Iligan City in February 2020 after showing symptoms of the COVID -19 illness. The patient was diagnosed positive of COVID-19 after the samples that underwent a laboratory examination showed positive of the virus first week of March. Suba-an said that the body of the patient is wrapped securely while the family decides on the process of the burial rites. He said that health officials prefer that the body be cremated to exterminate any trace of the virus. Dr. Jose Chan, the NMMC medical director, also disclosed that the state-owned hospital has already admitted and discharged a total of 21 COVID-19 related patients, including the first patient who died Friday, since the first week of January 2020. He said that the government hospital has also prepared an additional 10 isolation rooms in anticipation of more COVID-19 patients as health personnel employ more precautionary health measures in the hospital premises to lessen the effect of the virus.

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Agusan governor wants church pastor sued for posting fake news on COVID-19

March 14, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur--- Gov. Santiago Cane Jr has called on the police in Veruela town to pursue the cybercrime case against a church pastor who posted false information in his Facebook wall about the two positive cases of the dreaded Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID 19). The governor in an interview with MDN said the case against Gumonit should be pursued by the Veruela police since they were used as the source of malicious information even as Pastor Michael Ef Perez Gumonit, 29, single, pastor of International One Way Outreach Foundation in the village of Binongan in Veruela town publicly apologized in his Facebook post in an eight-minute video clip. “If all that will spread fake news will be forgiven after saying sorry, this practice will never end. A case has to be filed,” Cane said.  Police operatives have apprehended Michael Ef Perez Gumonit, 29, single, pastor of International One Way Outreach Foundation in the village of Binongan in Veruela while he was having their breakfast. He voluntarily went with the police to the Municipal Police Station for further interrogation. Cane had earlier warned in his Facebook post that Gumonit’s post he regarded as “fake news” is even more dangerous than the virus as he asked the police in Veruela to track him down and let him answer to what he had done. He told Colonel Ringo Zarzoso, provincial police director, to let  the Veruela police chief explain why no action was taken by his station despite being used as "source" of this fake information that caused panic and restlessness of the people in Veruela and nearby areas. Gumonit had posted in his wall that there are already two positive cases of COVID-19 in the villages of San Gabriel and Sta. Emilia attributing his source of information from his church member who is a member of Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT). It turned out that the information was false. He admitted his informant may have wrongly overheard the discussion of a police officer during a seminar in the village of Sampaguita thinking that person under monitoring could mean a positive case. But the police officer on desk at the Veruela police said COVID-19 was never discussed in the seminar since they only talked about peacekeeping enhancement. In a video clip, Gumonit claimed responsibility for posting false information as he asked for an aplogy to those who saw the post. He also asked apology to Cane and Veruela Mayor Myrna Mondejar hoping that he will be cleared from a possible cybercrime case. In Agusan del Sur, there are seven PUMs, of which six were already cleared while one still awaiting to finish his 14-day home quarantine. Cane has announced on Friday afternoon that a lone person under investigation after he coughed on the last day of his quarantine. The PUI is an OFW from Thailandwho went on vacation to his hometown in Sta. Josefa.  

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State of calamity declared in Iligan City

March 14, 2020

ILIGAN CITY ----- Two days after a patient from here was tested positive of COVID-19, the local government unit (LGU) of Iligan on Friday (March 13) declared the city under the state of calamity adopting President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation Order Number 922 declaring state of public health emergency. The ordinance was approved in an emergency session of the city council. City Councilor Lamberto Macapagal, committee chair on health in the city council, said with the declaration of state of calamity, Mayor Celso Regencia is given the authority to disburse funds from the disaster risk reduction and management fund (DRRMF) to procure supplies needed for in the LGU's efforts to contain and detect COVID-19. Macapagal said, members of the Task Force COVID-19 in Iligan and the tracking team are in dire need of masks, gloves, personal protective suit, thermal scanner gun, alcohol and sanitizer. The task force was contact tracing the relatives of a patient who tested positive of COVID-19 and was eventually died on Saturday, March 14, at Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) in Cagayan de Oro City. "We wanted to procure test kits but I'm afraid we can't do that because we are aware that the national office of the DOH (Department of Health) is in need of test kits. We also wanted to procure disinfectant machine but we will check if our funding is enough," Macapagal said. On the same session of the city council, an ordinance implementing curfew hours was also approved to avoid gathering of crowds who may possibly carry virus. The approved curfew hours for minors are 10pm to 5am while that of the adult is 12 midnight to 4am. The first COVID-19 fatality in Northern Mindanao, referred to by the DOH as patient PH40, was first admitted at Adventist Medical Center in Iligan City on March 3 for having fever, cough and difficulty of breathing, symptoms that a person is infected with the virus. On March 7, the hospital health workers observed, that PH40, who is from Lanao del Sur, did not respond to antibiotics. He was transferred to NMMC on March 8 and was COVID-tested. On March 11, the test resulted positive. The DOH confirmed on Saturday he died evening of March 13.

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Lanao Sur issues guidelines in preventing COVID-19

March 14, 2020

ILIGAN CITY ----- The provincial government of Lanao del Sur on Saturday issued memorandum order addressed to all municipal mayors in the province, including the Marawi City mayor, stating guidelines in ensuring the safety of the public in their respective municipalities. Provincial governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong, Jr. in a memorandum ordered the activation of the incident command system in municipal level and conduct emergency planning. The barangay local government units are also ordered to monitor and profile all 'persons under monitoring' (PUMs), those who has flu-like symptoms, town constituents coming from outside Lanao del Sur and those who has travel history from infected countries and jurisdictions. Adiong ordered that the tracing and surviellance will be done in coordination with the Municipal Health Office, the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office. "All are required to submit daily updates and reporting to the STOP COVID-19 CENTRALIZED COMMAND CENTER located in the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office at the New Capitol Complex in Marawi City or course through the C/MDRRMO (City/Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office) representatives," Adiong said. Health posts are also ordered to be established immediately in all entry points of Lanao del Sur with the area in the towns of Kapatagan, Saguiaran, Maguing and Picong. Kapatagan is the entry point from those who are coming from Cotabato City and nearby areas; Saguiaran is the entry point of those who are coming from Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City; Maguing is where the new diversion road in Lanao del Sur for those coming from Cagayan de Oro and or Bukidnon; and Picong is where those coming from Lanao del Norte and Zamboanga Peninsula. "The team manning these posts is equipped with thermal scanner gun, face masks, gloves and sanitizer," Adiong in an interview said. The municipal mayor are also ordered to identify "at least one quarantine area for persons under monitoring and provide their logistics including food for the entire of quarantine." The DRRMOs are ordered for a 24/7 monitoring as secondary responders. Masjids and other public places in the municipalities are ordered to be disinfected and "provide update regarding COVID-19 from time to time to your constituents". "The Bureau of Fire Protection may provide assistance in disinfection of all communal areas and disseminate STOP COVID-19 HOTLINE numbers - Smart, 0921-327-0920 and Globe, 0977-219-6846," Adiong said. The first COVID-19 fatality in Northern Mindanao, referred to by the DOH as patient PH40, is from Ganassi town according to Adiong. The patient, who is 54 years old, was first admitted at Adventist Medical Center in Iligan City on March 3 for having fever, cough and difficulty of breathing, symptoms that a person is infected with the virus. On March 7, the hospital health workers observed that PH40 did not respond to antibiotics. He was transferred to NMMC on March 8 and was COVID-tested. On March 11, the test resulted positive. The DOH confirmed on Saturday he died evening of March 13.

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Classes in Iligan suspended

March 12, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro city--Suspension of classes at all levels, in the Iligan City’s public and private schools takes effect Friday, a city official said. Jo Pantoja, the spokesperson of Iligan City Hall, said that City Mayor Celso Regencia issued the Executive Order Thursday on recommendation of the Iligan City COVID-19 Task Force. He said that the city’s COVID-19 Task Force has recommended the suspension of classes in Iligan City following confirmation of the first COVID - 19 patient who was initial confined at the Adventist Medical Center in Iligan City. “The suspension of classes in indefinite,” Pantoja said. Iligan City is 88 kilometers west of Cagayan De Oro City. Pantoja said that the City Mayor’s Executive Order also banned the holding of graduation rites in schools, public and private gatherings, including the holding of the city’s flag ceremonies on Mondays. According to Pantoja, the confirmation of the first positive COVID-19 patient from Iligan also resulted in the quarantine of 20 health personnel of the Adventist Medical Center where the patient was initially confined. He said that the City Council also authorized the City Mayor to procure protective gears for medical personnel of the private and public hospitals in the city. Pantoja also disclosed that the team from the city hospital, the Department of Health (DOH) and the task force was organized to track down the relatives, friends and family members who were in contact with the COVID-19 patient. The patient, a 54-year-old male from Marawi City was originally confined at the Adventist Medical Center in March 3 after complaining of cough, cold, fever and headaches. The DOH took over the medical treatment of the patient who was immediately considered as a patient under investigation (PUI). Pantoja said that the patient told the DOH personnel that he came from San Juan, Manila before he was admitted to the hospital. The DOH immediately transferred the patient to Cagayan De Oro City after the result of the sampling proved the patient positive of CORVID -19. Pantoja said that the patient was transferred to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan De Oro City because the hospital is the only government hospital in the region capable of treating patient with infectious diseases.

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Six COVID-19 PUMs in Agusan cleared

March 12, 2020

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur--Six of seven persons under monitoring (PUM) from the dreaded COVID-19 in this province were cleared Tuesday even as one is still awaiting results of his case until March 15. Dr. Jacqueline Frances Momville, Provincial Health Officer, said all of the PUMS came from the countries where there are confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. Two of the PUMS were traced in Bayugan City who are females, a 22-year-old from Hongkong and a 24-year-old from Macau, China, a 33-year-old female in San Francisco town  who came from Beijing, China, a 32-year-old female in Esperanza town who came from Hongkong, a 38-year-old female in Talacogon town from Hongkong and a 31-year-old female in San Luis town who came from Huangpu, China. The lone PUM case still awaiting results  is a 52-year-old male traced in San Francisco town who came from Geoje, South Korea. It was not yet clear as to the status of the PUMs whether they are foreigners who visited the country, Overseas Filipino Workers , balikbayans or vacationers from abroad. They were all told to go on 14-day home quarantine. Responding to Presidential Proclamation 922 of President Rodrigo Duterte, Gov. Santiago Cane, Jr. has issued an Executive Order 09-20 that institutionalizes precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19  and strengthen health surveillance system of the province “There is no cause to panic, no cause for alarm. This are precautionary measures that residents of this province should follow to prevent from being a victim of the disease,” Cane told local reporters. Cane has stressed in his directive asking residents to maintain hygiene and refrain from going big gatherings. As part of stringent precautionary measure, the provincial government have set up checkpoints at the entry roads leading to the capitol where health workers conduct thermal scanners to all who pass by including provincial officials and employees . Rogelio Ipanag, chief of the Provincial Correctional Security Management Office, said the thermal scanner will determine if a person went beyond the normal temperature that would be advised for medical check up at the DO Plaza memorial Hospital. Cane has  left the decisions of the 14 mayors of the province if they would pursue or not upcoming festivals in their respective towns since the executive order has specifically cited to avoid big gatherings. Already, three of the cultural festivals initiated by the local government units of Loreto, Sta. Josefa and Veruela have been cancelled while the municipality of La Paz was waiting from Mayor Michael Lim’s return from Manila attending the meeting  of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines . Bayugan City Mayor Kirk Asis has declared suspension of classes  in all levels yesterday (March 12) and the municipality of San Francisco followed suit later oin the same day.

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