By Jann Reymund Tatad and Jinky Tabor
SAN ANDRES, Catanduanes – A barangay here has been placed under partial lockdown after the Department of Health – Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) Region V recorded the province’s third coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-positive case on Saturday (June 13).
Barangay Caragñag was placed under partial lockdown, particularly the street where Patient #83 lives, to easily conduct contact tracing.
According to the DOH-CHD Bicol, the third COVID-19-positive case in the province is Patient 83, a Filipino female seafarer and an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who came from the Middle East.
She arrived in this town on June 8 in coordination with the Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA), with an issued quarantine certificate stating that she tested negative for COVID-19.
The patient had tested negative in a swab test conducted in Manila and completed her 14-day quarantine without showing symptoms. She then went directly to their residence in barangay Caragñag upon arrival to undergo home quarantine.
But after Patient 82 from San Miguel, Catanduanes was recorded as the province’s second COVID-19 positive case, Patient 83 was transferred to a quarantine facility here and was tested through a real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test where she tested positive based on the result released by Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory (BRDRL).
Patient 83 is said to be asymptomatic and is currently quarantined in a facility in San Andres town.
Patient 82 escapes with fake clearance
On June 10, the DOH added to the tally of confirmed cases Bicol’s Patient 82, a 49-year-old male and OFW who arrived in the country on May 23 from Saudi Arabia and in Catanduanes on June 8, after escaping from a hotel being used as a quarantine facility using a fake quarantine clearance.
The Philippine Coast Guard on June 9 denied issuing the quarantine clearance to Patient 82 after the office of Gov. Joseph C. Cua sent a letter to the Inter-Agency Task Force Sub-Group for Repatriation of OFWs Command Center. The OWWA also said he was not in the manifesto of supposed passengers to be transported last June 6 to Albay. However, Patient 83 was on the list.
As of this writing, 15 out of 19 close contacts of Patient 82 had their swabs tests, which yielded negative results.
Cua believed that Patient 83 may have been infected after having had contact with Patient 82 during their trip back to the province.
He also said they have already traced about 10 persons, mostly family members, who had close contact with Patient 83 and are now under home quarantine and scheduled for swab tests.
Patient 82 gains a measure of fame
Meanwhile, after a number of Catandunganons expressed their disappointment over the smooth travel of Patient 82 to Catanduanes using a fake quarantine pass, he is now gaining sympathy after local media reported he was denied confinement in different hospitals and barangay isolation facilities. Goods and well wishes were sent to him from around the world.
Cua said the hospitals were only following the DOH and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) joint administrative order number 2020–0001, citing a paragraph in DOH department memorandum number 2020-0108, that emphasizes home quarantine for individuals with mild symptoms. San Miguel town mayor Francisco Camano has taken charge of monitoring the patient.