Confirmed coronavirus case in Negros Oriental is a councilor

Marchel P. Espina
Confirmed coronavirus case in Negros Oriental is a councilor
The patient is a councilor from Tayasan town who travelled to Manila on February 26 to attend the convention of the Philippine Councilors League

NEGROS ORIENTAL, Philippines — The first confirmed case of coronavirus in this province is “still fighting for his life,” provincial officials said in a press conference on Thursday afternoon, March 12.

“Patient 39,” a 64-year-old Filipino, is a councilor from Tayasan town here who travelled to Manila on February 26 to attend the convention of the Philippine Councilors League, which concluded on February 28. (READ: Negros Oriental reports first coronavirus-positive case)

Dr. Liland Estacion, Provincial Health Officer, said the patient is still confined at the intensive care unit of Silliman University Medical Center in Dumaguete City.

Estacion said 4 members of his family are also being assessed as they are displaying flu-like symptoms. “We are determining if they will be considered as persons under investigation or persons under monitoring,” she said.

She said contact tracing to find people who may have been in direct contact with the confirmed case is still ongoing.

She added some airline passengers who were on the same flight with the patient have already contacted her office.

The patient returned to Dumaguete City on March 1. He showed symptoms on March 3, while his laboratory results were released on March 11.

In a statement released on March 12, the PCL national officials confirmed the patient attended their convention and stayed with his relatives in San Juan after.

“We learned from the Negros Oriental Chapter that the said member is currently suffering from pneumonia at the ICU in Siliman Medical Center and worse, has tested positive for the coronavirus as per the provincial government. According to the family, he is also a post-kidney transplant patient,” the PCL said.

Those who attended the event were urged to remain calm, as the national convention was held in close coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“As a precautionary measure, body temperatures were checked at all entrances and alcohol was provided for the delegates use to ensure the safety of everyone. DOH representatives were likewise present and provided a comprehensive lecture about the COVID-19 on the first day of the said event,” the statement said.

It also said the hotel where the patient stayed has assured that as of this time – some 13 days after the last day of the national convention – there had been no other confirmed cases.

The local chapter also confirmed all councilors from this province have, so far, not exhibited any symptoms, the statement added.

“We assure everyone that there is no reason to panic, however, the public is asked to be most vigilant at this time. PCL will cooperate in all matters to help our members and other agencies on their concerns,” the statement said.

Silay City, Negros Occidental Councilor Ryan Gamboa, president of the Philippine Councilors’ League Negros Occidental chapter and ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, said about 12,000 councilors from all over the country attended the national convention.

He said those who have in contact with the patient said he was not exhibiting any symptoms during the meeting.

For neighboring Negros Occidental, about 270 councilors attended the convention, and they were reminded to do self-quarantine or go to the hospital for evaluation if they were not feeling well to ensure they have not contacted the disease, Gamboa said.* – Rappler.com