After more than two weeks of having no active infection, a new confirmed case of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was recorded in Zamboanga del Sur on Sunday.
The new patient is a 41-year-old woman who is a resident of Mahayag town.
She is among more than 30 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who arrived in Pagadian City on June 5 from Cebu City on board a commercial vessel.
Dr. Dalia Aseniero, the Health Education and Promotion Officer of Integrated Provincial Health Office, said the patient tested positive after a Rapid Diagnostic Test conducted right after arrival at the Pagadian City’s holding facility for LSIs and returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Aseniero said the patient was immediately brought to an isolation facility prepared by the provincial government, and a swab specimen was taken from her for confirmatory test on same day.
After more than a week, the test results came out, finding her positive for COVID-19.
“Yung health certificate niya, naka-state doon na nakuhanan na po siya ng rapid diagnostic test last May 22. Then, yung medical certificate niya, sinabi na, she's not suspect, no signs and symptoms of COVID-19. So binigyan siya ng medical certificate ng Cebu City last May 29. But unfortunately, naka-travel po siya last June 4 pa, so may 1 week time pa na na-delay siya doon," Aseniero explained.
Aseniero said they have been monitoring the health conditions of the 30 other LSIs who traveled from Cebu city with the patient on the same vessel.
They will be also subjected to Reverse Transmission-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test within this week.
“Naka-quarantine din sila, kasi may advisory na kaming ibinigay last June 4 pa sa mga rural health units natin sa mga municipality, in case may ganitong resulta sa RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Test), may mga actions na silang gagawin doon. Kasi for the meantime, ang governor namin dit,o na based din sa executive order, yung mga munisipyo may mga dedicated isolation facility na rin sila," Aseniero said.
From May 24 to June 14, more than a thousand LSIs and more than 200 returning OFWs from Metro Manila and other parts of the country arrived in Zamboanga Del Sur through government-facilitated flights and boat trips.
Of those, 36 turned out positive after Rapid Diagnostic tests were conducted.
Swab samples were taken from only 13 of them, and were sent to a COVID-19 laboratory in Zamboanga City for confirmatory test.
As of Monday, only 4 test results came out, 3 of which were negative, while 1 was positive for COVID-19.
The previously reported five confirmed COVID-19 cases in Zamboanga del Sur have already recovered.
In the entire Western Mindanao region, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached 193, as of June 15, broken down as follows: 185 cases in Zamboanga city, 6 in Zamboanga del Sur and 2 in Zamboanga del Norte.
Only the province of Zamboanga Sibugay remains free from COVID-19 in the region.