GenSan extends quarantine period for returning LSIs, OFWs to 21 days

Published July 24, 2020, 3:07 PM

by Philippine News Agency

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The city government has extended the quarantine period for returning locally-stranded individuals (LSI) and overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to 21 days in the wake of the rising number of cases of local transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in parts of the country.

Dr. Rochelle Oco, head of the City Health Office (CHO), said Friday they added another seven days to the previous 14-day mandatory quarantine to properly contain possible infections among returning residents.

She said the move was part of the additional measures adopted by the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases to better protect local communities from the spread of the disease.

It was also in response to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the city, which recorded five new infections among returning LSIs on Thursday night, she added.

The confirmed cases in the city are now at 21, all returning LSIs and OFWs, with 12 recorded in the last three days. Four of the patients have completely recovered.

Oco said the seven-day extension will mainly be added to the home quarantine protocol of all returning residents.

Upon arrival, she said returning LSIs and OFWs will be required by the city government to undergo quarantine for at least seven days in a temporary isolation facility.

Those who would come out negative in the rapid antibody testing, and have not manifested any symptom may be allowed to continue their strict quarantine at home, if found suitable, for another 14 days, she said.

The official said returning residents, who turn out positive in the rapid antibody screening, will be subjected to confirmatory reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, and will be admitted in a designated facility.

She assured that all returning residents undergoing extended home quarantine will be closely monitored by the CHO, in coordination with the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and Barangay Covid Control Force.

The city’s IATF is regularly evaluating the current health protocols and related control measures as well as making the necessary adjustments, she said.

“We may change the protocol depending on the latest guidelines from the DOH (Department of Health) and our team of medical experts,” Oco said in an advisory.

Meanwhile, CHO said in a report the five new COVID-19 patients, all with travel history from Manila, were in stable condition, and being closely monitored by local health workers.

Three of them — a 60-year-old female, 19-year-old male, and 21-year-old male — returned home last July 13 while the two others — a 19-year-old and 53-year-old males – arrived on July 2 and July 11, respectively.

Of the current 17 active cases, nine were admitted at the Covid-19 patient care center of the local government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital and eight others in undisclosed private hospitals.