Koronadal tracks contacts of escaped Covid-19 patient from NCR

KORONADAL CITY – The city government has launched a massive contact tracing for a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patient who reportedly escaped from isolation in Metro Manila and managed to return home in a village here early this week.

Dr. Edito Vego, acting head of the City Health Office (CHO), confirmed on Thursday that the female patient came from an area that already recorded cases of the highly contagious Delta variant.

He said concerned health personnel earlier alerted their office regarding the patient, who reportedly traveled from somewhere in Quezon City and Bulacan.

“The patient previously tested positive for Covid-19 but escaped from isolation and returned home to attend the wake of a deceased family member,” he said in an interview over Bombo Radyo.

Vego said they immediately verified the matter and found the name of the patient, who hails from Barangay Sta. Cruz here, in a manifesto of a recent flight from Manila to General Santos City.

The patient reportedly traveled from the airport to the city aboard a private van and later attended the wake at their home, he said.

The official said they already located the patient and is now “contained” in an isolation facility in the city.

He said they have already informed the epidemiology and surveillance units of the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office and the Department of Health-Region 12 to alert the airline on the matter.

The CHO is currently tracing the patient’s reported companion from Manila, the other co-passengers in the van, and possible contacts among family members and attendees of the “contaminated wake.”

“The patient was just reported as Covid-19 positive but anything is possible right now because she came from areas with confirmed Delta variant cases. So we’re closely monitoring this to prevent its spread,” Vego said.

The health official said they are currently determining how the patient was able to board the commercial flight as passengers are required to present negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test results for Covid-19.

He said it is possible that the latter presented fake swab test results and other required travel documents.

With this case, he said they will now double check the documents of all returning residents as a precautionary measure.

Vego added they have yet to determine whether the patient could face sanctions or charges for violating the health protocols. (PNA)


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