Do not panic, DOH-Soccsksargen urges public amid lack of surgical masks, test kits

/ 01:49 PM March 10, 2020

KORONADAL CITY –– The Department of Health (DOH) in Soccsksargen on Tuesday urged the public not to panic as the region experienced anew a shortage of medical face masks in the wake of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.

Arjohn Gangoso, DOH-Soccsksargen health education, and promotion officer, also admitted the regional office did not have any supply of COVID-19 test kits.


Since January 29, the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit have reported five patients under investigation (PUI). Four of them have been discharged after testing negative for COVID-19.

Gangoso said they expected the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to release today, March 10, the results of the other PUI confined in an undisclosed hospital in the region.


“Since we do not have COVID-19 test kits, we just sent the oral and nasal swab samples to the RITM and wait for the results,” he said.

The RESU also reported 88 persons under monitoring (PUM)
for COVID-19 in the region, 73 of them have already completed their 14-day home quarantine.

As of Tuesday, health workers continued the monitoring of eight PUMs in South Cotabato, six in North Cotabato, and one in Sultan Kudarat.

Gangoso appealed to the public to avoid hoarding face masks, saying that some pharmacies have run out of stock based on the monitoring of their field personnel.

On Monday, President Duterte placed the entire country under a state of public health emergency as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country doubled overnight to 24.

The DOH national office has raised the COVID-19 alert system to Code Red Sublevel 1, a preemptive call to ensure that the national and local governments, the public and private health care providers can prepare for a possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.

Amid the face mask shortage in Soccsksargen, Gangoso reminded the public to always perform preventive measures against COVID-19, such as regular washing of hands, eating healthy foods, and limiting exposure to crowded places.


In late January with COVID-19 spreading to different countries from Wuhan, China, face masks also ran out of stock in some parts of the region.

If showing signs and symptoms of fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing, seek early consultation with the nearest health center or hospital for COVID-19 detection, the DOH regional office advised.

“Let us support one another to prevent community transmission in the region,” it said in a statement.

With the cooperation of local government units, Gangoso said the Barangay Health Emergency and Response Teams have been activated to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

There are 17 level 2 and level 3 public and private hospitals across Soccsksargen capable of attending to the needs of PUIs, said the regional health office.

Edited by Lzb

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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