KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, March 31 (PIA) - South Cotabato has recorded its first case of coronavirus disease, Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., provincial health officer, confirmed in a press conference Tuesday.
But this, Dr. Aturdido emphasized, should not cause public alarm because the patient has been identified, has complied with strict regulations pertaining home isolation and has been subject to close monitoring by municipal health officials concerned.
"There is no need for the public to panic. First, you do not have close contact with patient who have acquired COVID-19. Again, we do not have to panic, but this should be a reason for us to step up in keeping with guidance on social distancing. Stay at home," he said.
Aturdido revealed that the patient who have tested positive for COVID-19 is a 52-year old male, who traveled from Metro Manila and arrived in South Cotabato on March 16. He was confined at the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital on March 18 as a patient under investigation after showing flu-like symptoms and was discharged 5 days after. Since then, the patient has been subject to strict home isolation and monitoring by the municipal health office concerned.
"Based on our monitoring, the patient has religiously complied with our instructions to keep himself isolated after his discharge from the hospital. The community has also been closely monitored against occurrence of influenza-like illness. So far, none has been reported," Dr. Aturdido said.
In confirming the COVID-19 positive patent in South Cotabato, Aturdido said, he broke DOH protocol since the said patient has not been reported by the Department of Health Central Office.
Making the announcement is necessary he reasoned, because the information that made rounds on social media platforms since Monday afternoon has already been massively shared and has caused alarm.
As of 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, the Integrated Provincial Health Office has not yet received reference pertaining to the number of the patient.
Meanwhile, Tboli Mayor Dibu Tuan confirmed in a Facebook post that the patient is a resident of his municipality.
Mayor Tuan reported that all persons the patient has come in close contact with have been identified -- his mother and two teenagers in the house and one person living in a separate house.
"None of them are showing any symptoms as of the moment and the patient is on his last day of antibiotics. Our patient is very cooperative and appreciative and followed all the advice of his doctor. All contacts here in Tboli were already accounted for," Mayor Tuan wrote.
Although the situation should not cause public alarm, Dr. Aturdido emphasized that "this should be a reason from everybody to heed our constant reminder for physical and social distancing, coughing etiquette, regular handwashing, and staying at home." (DED-PIA XII)