STO. TOMAS, Batangas – The provincial government of Batangas confirmed Friday, 13 March 2020 its first case of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Confirmation of Batangas’ first case of COVID-19 infection was contained in an official memorandum signed by Batangas Governor Hermilando “Dodo” Mandanas.
As this developed, Mandanas also ordered the suspension of classes in both public and private schools effective immediately until March 31, 2020.
In a phone interview, Batangas provincial administrator Levi Dimaunahan also confirmed the province’s first COVID case but he said:
“The gender of the individual was not immediately known but the person is in isolation at the Batangas Medical Center (BMC).”
It was gathered that the COVID-19 carrier, who is a resident of Batangas City, has a record of a recent travel to London, England where coronavirus infections are also widespread.
As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, 11 March 2020, the public health office of England reported that 387 people have been confirmed as positive for COVID-19.
Of the official count, six (6) patients who tested positive of the disease have died.
From the BMC, the provincial government accordingly plans to transfer the COVID-19 patient to a safer place to curtail the spread of the disease.
Meanwhile, a day earlier, Thursday, residents of Sto. Tomas City turn to panic mode as news about the alleged presence of a positive coronavirus carrier in one of the city’s 30 Barangays broke out.
This, was confirmed by concerned officials with the city having a person under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 as he recently came home from Japan.
But City Health Officer in Dr. Pedrito Mayuga said “Sto. Tomas City remains coronavirus-free and there is definitely no cause for alarm, no reason for residents to panic. The PUI is negative from the virus.”
What made Tomasinos panic was the sudden presence of Department of Health personnel in Barangay San Pedro where an overseas worker came home from Japan.
Mayuga clarified the presence of DOH personnel was part of a so-called “contact” tracing performed by the agency on the relatives of a certain person under monitoring and investigation (PUMI).
The name and other details of the PUI and his relatives were withheld as per DOH directive.
For his part, STC public information and promotion division chief Gerry Laresma explained and confirmed that there is indeed this person or resident under investigation (PUI) who recently came home from Japan but he later tested negative for COVID-19.
Laresma also added they actually invited the media to tell the people that there is no cause for alarm and to allay unfounded fears.
There is “no cause for alarm and to allay the fears of the public we made ourselves available for interview with the media,” he said.
“PUI kasi yung lalaki. Galing Japan, nilagnat nagpunta ng RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) sa Alabang at nagpa-confine na doon.”
The said PUI, Laresma said, later tested negative of COVID-19.
“Ngayon yung kanyang pamilya, yun ang umuwi ng Sto. Tomas kasi may rest house dito so dito muna sila nagself-quarantine,” Laresma said.
Negative on COVID-19 tests, the said PUI is also already scheduled for discharge from confinement at RITM Laresma added.
“Dito naman sa mga kapamilya na dito (Sto. Tomas City) nagself-quaratine, wala rin nagmanifest na may coronavirus so there is no cause for alarm,” said Laresma.
The presence of DOH personnel on the said Barangay was only a part of the agency’s contact tracing routine “kung sino ba ang mga nakasalumuha nila” he said. (iamigo)