‘The situation is serious’: Soccskargen posts single-day high of 58 COVID-19 cases
COTABATO CITY—A single-day high of 58 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been recorded in the South Cotabato, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City (Soccsksargen) region on Saturday (Sept. 5), even as health authorities confirmed local transmission in some areas.
Arjohn Gangoso, Department of Health (DOH) regional health education and promotion officer, said on Sunday (Sept. 6) that the new cases brought the number of coronavirus infections in the region to 597.
“It’s the highest single-day spike for the region,” he said. “The situation is serious and we really need each other’s help,” he told INQUIRER.net.
According to regional data, South Cotabato has the highest number of cases with 161. This was followed by General Santos, 108; Sarangani, 98; Sultan Kudarat, 86; Cotabato City, 78 and Cotabato province, 66.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., head of the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office, said there’s now local coronavirus transmission in the province as can be gleaned from the profile and history of patients.
“We are afraid that COVID-19 cases will further surge if we cannot effectively trace the contacts of those who tested positive for COVID-19 and quarantine these contacts if needed,” Aturdido said.
Aturdido reiterated the need for residents and other people working in the province to register with the South Cotabato COVID-19 Contact Tracing System to help fight the spread of SARS CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Gangoso said due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, local contact tracing teams had been stepping up efforts to identify direct contacts of infected persons and monitoring those who had shown symptoms.
He appealed to the public to heed health protocols for the pandemic, which included wearing face masks and shields in public places, social distancing, regular hand washing and staying at home as much as possible.
In Iligan City, presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief implementer of the National Action Plan (NAP) against COVID-19, urged the local government to avert a possible clustering of cases by banning home quarantine for those who tested positive for coronavirus.
Galvez said in a recent visit to Iligan that the surge in cases in Cebu City and Laguna province had been blamed partly on a number of patients who were positive for coronavirus but allowed to go on home quarantine but not effectively monitored.
“Many COVID 19 patients have died because they are not monitored by government within 24 hours,” Galvez said.
At least, 36 COVID-19 patients in Iligan City were still on home quarantine during Galvez’ visit last Friday (Sept. 4).
“In Laguna, there were 70 COVID-19 cases on home quarantine which eventually led to the spike of cases there. It was the same in Cebu City,” he said.
Galvez urged Iligan City Mayor Celsa Regencia to instead build more quarantine facilities that could accommodate up to 800 patients although the city government had already used half of the number of its classrooms as isolation facilities.
“It is important that we take care of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan because these cities are considered economic hub of Northern Mindanao,” said Galvez, a former military general.
“It is here where residents of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur buy and sell their goods. Once the city gets contaminated, the two provinces would be affected,” Galvez said.
He also urged Regencia to impose strict health measures for business establishments and to encourage these to have their own isolation facilities.
“Canteens should be in open space and face masks and face shields should be mandatory in business establishments, public transportation and churches and other sites where people meet,” Galvez said.
“No smoking, eating and calling through cellular phone inside public utility vehicles,” he added.
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