House-to-house search for possible COVID-19 patients in brgy in CDO

Patient No. 6873 dies of COVID-19; CDO doctors baffled at how he contracted the virus

By: Froilan Gallardo - Correspondent/CDN Digital | April 26,2020 - 08:30 AM
NO ENTRY: Residents barricaded a road leading to Ramonal Subdivision in Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday, April 25, 2020 as news spread about the death of a COVID-19 patient nearby. Residents set up checkpoints in every street in Barangay Camaman-an overnight. |Photo by Froilan Gallardo

NO ENTRY: Residents barricade a road leading to Ramonal Subdivision in Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday, April 25, 2020 as news spread about the death of a COVID-19 patient nearby. Residents set up checkpoints in every street in Barangay Camaman-an overnight. |Photo by Froilan Gallardo

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Medical workers are conducting a massive house-to-house search in Barangay Camaman-an here to search for neighbors of a recently died COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) patient who might have been infected of the virus.

They have already finished searching 680 houses within a 50-meter radius of the house of Patient No. 6873 in Pinikitan, Barangay Camaman-an this city.

“Our target is 1,000 houses and we could probably finish with the search by Monday,”  said Dr. Joselito Retuya, chief epidemiologist of the Cagayan de Oro City Health Office.

Retuya said despite the number of people already examined and questioned, the crucial question of how Patient No. 6873 contracted the COVID-19 still remained.

“I will be honest with you, we still do not know how he contracted the virus,” said Retuya.

Patient No. 6873, a 69-year-old storekeeper in Pinikitan, died at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center last April 18.

The search or contact tracing started when the deceased was admitted to the NMMC last April 17.

Mayor Oscar Moreno and doctors from the NMMC and Department of Health Region 10 was later informed that Patient No. 6873 was tested positive of COVID-19.

No travel history

Moreno said the old man did not any travel history, raising a scary possibility that this was a local transmission.

Retuya said the medical workers composed of 20 barangay health workers, a nurse and a doctor found only nine persons who complained of colds and slight fever but none of the symptoms of the COVID-19.

He said the medical workers were residents of Barangay Camaman-an making the search faster since they knew the community.

Read more: Death of elderly COVID-19 patient stuns Cagayan de Oro officials

Despite the familiarity, Retuya said they faced a black wall on the travel history of the patient.

“The health conditions of the nine persons do not even warrant a swab test. We advised them to stay indoors, “ Retuya said.

Retuya said the City Health Office was also digging into death certificates of those who recently died in Pinikitan in the hope of finding who transmitted the virus to the old man.

He said they were puzzled because based on their interviews with the granddaughter and son of the deceased, the old man was mostly bed-ridden at the back of the store.

“We were told he barely came out to watch the store. So who could have infected him (with COVID-19),” Retuya said.

He said they had already contacted, checked on the doctor and nurse who examined the patient when he was admitted at the Polymedic Hospital here.

He said both the doctor and nurse told them they were wearing masks, goggles and protective clothing or PPE thus eliminating them as carriers of COVID-19.

Retuya said all 16 family members of the patient had been taken away to an undisclosed isolation facility in the city.

Uproar on COVID-19 patient’s death

The news that a positive COVID-19 patient died caused a major uproar in Barangay Camaman-an, a densely populated urban area in Cagayan de Oro.

Overnight, residents put up chokepoints and barricades in Pinikitan, Adela and Ramonal subdivisions to prevent non-residents from entering their streets.

Jittery men and youngsters manned these chokepoints and barricades demanding to see the Barangay Exit Pass for everyone entering or leaving their streets.

Most of them even set up improvised disinfection cubicles made of flimsy plastics, which they require passersby’s to go through.

Many of them sport small bottles of alcohol, which they spray on the hands of passersby./dbs

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TAGS: Cagayan de Oro, Coronavirus Disease 2019, COVID-19

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