Dinagat Islands' first coronavirus cases are stranded individuals

Dinagat Islands has recorded its first 7 coronavirus cases, and the patients were among the locally stranded individuals (LSIs).

"After acquiring the RT-PCR results for our ten (10) suspect cases among our recently arrived LSIs from the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, we have found that the Province of Dinagat Islands now has a total of seven (7) confirmed of COVID-19," Dinagat provincial information officer Jeff Crisostomo said in a statement Saturday, August 22.

Crisostomo said that the province accepted more than 200 stranded individuals, most of whom were among the ones gathered at the Rizal Memorial Stadium as part of Malacañang's Hatid Tulong Initiative. (READ: Lawmakers slam DILG, Hatid Tulong officials for snubbing hearing on stranded Filipinos)

Crisostomo pointed out that the stranded individuals from the Rizal stadium either did not get tested, or were only rapid tested, which she called "a very unreliable way to determine COVID-19 infection."

"We all knew the risks associated with the entry of LSIs and returning overseas Filipinos, as we have seen in other provinces. However, we did not hesitate to welcome them because they are our fellow citizens—our neighbors, relatives, and friends," said Crisostomo.

The stranded individuals started arriving in Dinagat Islands July 31 and went straight to quarantine and isolation facilities, according to Crisostomo. 

"They had no interaction with any person except for our health workers," said Crisostomo.

Crisostomo said Dinagat Islands still does not have local transmission.

"Our frontliners will continue to ensure that our protocols will be implemented to prevent the possibility of local transmission in the province," said Crisostomo. – Rappler.com