DOH confirms Mindanao’s first Covid-19 case in Iligan City


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Health authorities placed in isolation Thursday a patient at a government-run hospital here hours after being found positive for the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

In an announcement late Wednesday, the Department of Health in Region 10 (DOH-10) said the patient had been confined at a hospital in Iligan City for four days before he was found positive for Covid-19 and put under quarantine at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) here.

Dr. Jose Chan, NMMC hospital director, said the patient–the first confirmed Covid-19 case in Mindanao–“was complaining of shortness of breath, although he is improving.”

Chan said the individual is on a ventilator, a machine designed to provide mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air in and out of the lungs, to deliver breaths to a patient who is physically unable to breathe or breathing insufficiently.

In a press conference Thursday, Dr. Adriano Suba-an, DOH-10 director, said the patient — 54-year-old Filipino male — was reported to be suffering from pneumonia while undergoing treatment in Iligan.

Suba-an said the patient’s symptoms started on Feb. 24 and he was admitted to Iligan on March 3.

He said the patients were referred to the NMMC on March 8, as specimens were taken and sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila.

“On March 11, 2020, the result was confirmed to be positive, SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of coronavirus Disease-2019 (Covid-19),” Suba-an said during a press conference at a hotel here Thursday morning.

“The patient is being managed by our Infectious Diseases Specialists according to the latest [World Health Organization] guidelines,” Suba-an said.

He added that the health department is conducting contact tracing or the people the patient has come in contact with before he was tested positive for Covid-19.

Suba-an said they are also implementing heightened disease surveillance through the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team in the community and through Severe Acute Respiratory Infection surveillance in the hospital.

He said the health department doesn’t want more people to get infected with the virus from patients who have contracted it locally.

“We cannot afford to have another generation of local transmission,” he said.