1-year-old baby NorMin's youngest COVID-19 patient

June 15, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A one-year-old female infant in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental is the youngest coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patient in Northern Mindanao region after her swab samples turned out positive on Saturday through reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) confirmatory test.

Dr. Agnes Centino, assistant city health officer and unified commander of Gingoog City's Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), said the 30-year-old father of the child also tested positive for the disease, while the 34-year-old mother tested negative in the RT-PCR test despite initially tested positive in the rapid diagnostic test.

She said the family members were not able to return to their community as they were immediately brought to patient care centers in Gingoog City and will be monitored for the next 14 days.

"They came from Tondo, Manila, and it has been expected they had many contacts there because there are many residing in that place. The father was a construction worker, and the mother was a housekeeper," she added.

Centino said the family moved to Manila on January 2 but they decided to return to Gingoog City via 2GO shipping vessel on June 9.

They arrived in the city on June 11 and went through rapid testing. The confirmatory test was conducted on June 12 where their swab samples were taken to the molecular laboratory of state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) in Cagayan de Oro City.

She said the patients are all asymptomatic, adding although the child was having slight cold, but was "playful."

Centino said those in close contact with the family were also brought to their isolation facilities.

"Even (though) she had a cold, she had no cough. We are putting the child under strict surveillance because as a child, she doesn't know how to complain (about illnesses)," Centino said.

She also appealed to other locally stranded individuals (LSIs) to report to their health facilities and cooperate in case they have shown signs and symptoms of the virus for the safety of their family and the city.

Dr. Neal Rana, Gingoog City's consultant pathologist and NMMC head of molecular laboratory, said the patients will undergo a repeat test after the 14-day quarantine period.

He also commended the city government for its proactive actions and proper handling of LSIs from their arrival at the airport and seaports, and the direct transfer to care centers for rapid testing.

With the addition of the two patients, the total cases of Covid-19 in the province of Misamis Oriental has reached three, all are currently active as of June 13.

The first one was a 29-year-old male overseas Filipino worker, who arrived in the isolation facility in the town of Libertad on June 6. He was transferred to NMMC on June 12 after his samples turned positive for the virus in the RT-PCR test.

Meanwhile, Gingoog City mayor Eric Cañosa appealed to the public not to discriminate Covid-19 patients, returning LSIs, and OFWs as more will still arrive.

As of Saturday, there were already 180 LSIs who returned to the city.

"The local government will provide for the needs of the family, especially the child. Our front-liners are ready to help," he said.

He also assured the public that as standard protocol, all patients and LSIs will be tested again before they will be allowed to return to their communities.

Effective June 16, Cañosa added he will execute an order that will prohibit the sale and consumption of liquor in public places between 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day, as well as reimpose the observation of the curfew.

Councilor Robert de Lara, president of the city's Association of Barangay Captains, said he and other village chiefs will meet to discuss measures to prevent local transmission of Covid-19 in the city.

"I will sponsor a resolution (to the city council) to deputize barangay officials and enforcers to help the police in implementing guidelines and ordinances, as well enforce the wearing of face masks, and social distancing. They will be a force multiplier as the police officers are not enough (to cover the whole city)," he said.

As the checkpoints will be revived in the entry and exit points in the city, de Lara will also consider appealing to IATF the use of home quarantine passes, and age restrictions of below 21 and above 60 to go out of their houses. PNA