SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur —- The Department of Health – Center for Health Development in CARAGA on Monday confirmed that a 68-year-old man from Butuan City with pre-existing medical condition has tested positive of the deadly coronavirus disease in Caraga region, after more than a month that the area remained free from the dreaded disease.
A report by government station Radyo Pilipinas in Butuan City however cited an interview with Dr. Jose Llacuna, Jr. Department of Health Caraga regional director, that the elderly patient has recovered and returned home from confinement at the Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City.
“The clinical assessment now is, he is stable as far as physician’s point of view,”,Llacuna said in a live interview with the government broadcast station.
The patient has a travel history in Manila, arrived in Butuan last March 12 and immediately went on home quarantine as Person Under Monitoring (PUM).
During the period of his home quarantine, he developed fever, cough and colds and referred to Caraga Regional Hospital, this time made him Person Under Investigation (PUI).
As this developed, Agusan del Sur Santiago Cane, Jr. has issued Executive Order 18-20 on Monday noon restoring the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) declaration in the entire province.
Cane said the measure is important measure to prevent the dreaded virus spread in this landlocked province especially that there is no level III hospital here that can facilitate treatment of COVID-19.
Rep. Adolph Edward Plaza of the province’s second district who has been long-time governor said in a live interview with Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said the province cannot afford being infiltrated by COVID-19 with lack of medical facilities.
He said the call for a total border lockdown in the province has been widely supported by the residents.
“Were’ looking at the worst case scenario, a lockdown that would prolong from three to six months,” Plaza said as he assured the province had enough food supply production to address the long lockdown.
The Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit initiated the contact tracing of persons who interacted with or were in close proximity with the patient including the patient’s flight details.
“I would like to remind the public that this is something that we need to take seriously. Follow the policies set by the government and by DOH. Remember to practice physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, boost your immune system, and avoid sharing unverified news,” Llacuna said.
Meanwhile, DOH Caraga has also provided technical assistance to Butuan City government in the conduct of the rapid testing (Immunologic Method) for the PUIs admitted in the city hospital annex or the designated PUI Center. There were reactive samples found. These tests, however, must be confirmed using the COVID-19 RT-PCR or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.
Test which is administered by the identified sub-national laboratories. Rapid test kits will measure antibodies present but not the viral load which is why a confirmatory RT-PCR based test is still required.
The samples from the rapid tests taken will be brought today to SPMC for confirmatory testing.
As of April 5, 2020, the regional office has already tallied a total of 12 PUIs where four are currently admitted and eight are on strict home quarantine.