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DOH-7 confirms community transmission in Sitio Zapatera as COVID-19 cases in CV near 100-mark

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Reporter/CDN Digital | April 16,2020 - 07:32 PM
A densely populated sitio in Barrio Luz is placed under lockdown starting Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 after three COVID-19 cases were reported there. | Photo courtesy of Councilor Dave Tumulak

A densely populated sitio in Barangay Luz is placed under lockdown starting Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 after three COVID-19 cases were reported there. | Photo courtesy of Councilor Dave Tumulak

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The total confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Central Visayas is now nearing the 100 mark.

This after the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH – 7) on Thursday, April 16, 2020, reported an additional 27 patients infected with the disease in the region, bringing the total to 95.

The figures included the 24 new individuals from Sitio Zapatera in Barangay Luz, Cebu City who were earlier announced by Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella.

The remaining three are from Lapu-Lapu City, said  Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH-7 director, in a video conference with members of the media.

As a result, Cebu City now has a total of 77 confirmed COVID-19 cases and Lapu-Lapu City with seven.

Bernadas said 211 specimens were tested at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), the sub-national level laboratory in Cebu City, on Thursday in which 184 came out negative of COVID-19.

“All of the samples that tested positive are from Cebu island,” he said.

The number of recoveries and mortalities, on the other hand, remain at 23 and eight respectively.

Cebu, which includes Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Lapu-Lapu City, is the province with the highest number of individuals infected with COVID-19 in Central Visayas — with 90, while Siquijor is the only island that remains free of any confirmed cases.

Sitio Zapatera

The DOH-7 is now also helping to facilitate makeshift isolation or quarantine facilities in a nearby public school for the patients in Sitio Zapatera, Barangay Luz who tested positive of COVID-19.

Bernadas on Thursday confirmed that the continually increasing number of COVID-19 patients in the sub-village was a result of a community transmission wherein the virus would now spread among individuals within a certain area or locality.

He added that their agency had already recommended health officers of Cebu City to isolate not only those found out to have contracted the disease but also the entire sitio from the rest of the barangay.

Sitio Zapatera is the largest among all 15 sitios in Barangay Luz with a population of at least 9,000 individuals. It is also classified as an urban poor community in Cebu City.

There are now 53 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sitio Zapatera, most of which are asymptomatic and under ‘strict’ home isolation as authorities scramble to prepare the sites where they will be transferred.

“Our protocols state that as much as possible, these patients should be contained and held in a facility. But only if we have a facility which also needs the right equipment to aid their recovery and contain the virus,” Bernadas said in Cebuano.

“Placing them under home isolation is the last resort but only if the house, too, is capable of effectively isolating them,” he added.

Cebu City’s COVID-19 quarantine facilities in General Maxilom Avenue and North Reclamation Area (NRA) are yet to be operational.

But Bernadas said they were hoping for the isolation center in General Maxilom Avenue to start housing asymptomatic patients within the next three days. /dbs

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