9 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Western Visayas
ILOILO CITY, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Nine new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, were reported in the Western Visayas on Friday, March 27, bringing to 13 the total number of confirmed cases in the region.
In a statement to media, Department of Health (DOH) Regional Director Dr Marilyn Convocar listed the new confirmed cases in Region VI. Provincial health authorities provided details about the patients:
- Male, 40, Bacolod City – the son of the 56-year-old man who was the first to test positive in the city
- Male, 28, Bacolod City – has a travel history to Manila
- Male, 75, Bacolod City – has a travel history to Manila
These bring to 4 the total infections in Bacolod.
Bacolod will be on lockdown from March 30 to April 14. The province of Negros Occidental will also start its lockdown on March 30.
- Female, 59, Barotac Nuevo
- Female, 22, Miag-ao
- Male, 72, Iloilo City (died of complications from respiratory illness)
- Male, 81, Libacao
- Male, 68, town unknown
- Male, 37, Malay
As of Friday, DOH Western Visayas reported that 276 persons were under investigation for COVID-19 in the region.
DOH Region VI emphasized that they expected the number of confirmed cases to increase more quickly because of the testing hub that recently opened at the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Iloilo City.
WVMC began running tests locally on Wednesday, March 25. (READ: 5,000 coronavirus test kits arrive in Iloilo City)
In a phone interview, Dr Jane Juanico, head of the Infectious Disease Section of DOH Region VI, confirmed to Rappler that WVMC began running tests on a first batch of specimens on Wednesday.
“The facility and all its protocols are now in place. We already started testing as early as yesterday. We are looking at a turnover of between 24 to 72 hours to receive test results per batch,” Juanico said on Thursday.
Prior to the opening of the lab in WVMC, the region's medical frontliners had to send the samples to Metro Manila, then wait around 5 to 6 days for results to return.
Juanico urged Western Visayas residents to fully cooperate when it comes to physical distancing, disclosing of travel history, and aiding in the agency’s contact tracing efforts.
“In this time of crisis its very prudent, in fact it’s our social responsibility to be honest and tell our exact travel history and itinerary of travel exposure,” Juanico told Rappler. “This is to not only protect themselves through proper clinical management, but also to protect our frontliners and our entire communities.” – with reports from Boy Ryan Zabal and Marchel Espina/Rappler.com