UPDATE June 6, 2020: Candon City Mayor Ericson Singson, M.D. in a Facebook post announced that the third swab test of the patient came out negative. This after the patient’s second swab test also came out negative according to a local tv news report.
VIGAN CITY — Six weeks after Ilocos Sur was declared free from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) when its first confirmed case recovered on April 16, a 33-year-old female asymptomatic patient tested positive of COVID-19.
The patient is from Barangay Sevilla, Sta. Cruz who intermittently goes home to Barangay Bio, Tagudin and is employed as a nurse at St. Martin de Porres Hospital (SMPH) in Candon City.
This was confirmed by Governor Ryan Luis Singson, along with the members of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur Command Center, during a press conference held at the Provincial Capitol on Monday afternoon.
According to the official statement issued by Gov. Singson, the patient showed no sign of infection but had to seek medical attention due to a surgical condition, which resulted in admission.
Anent to this, SMPH said in their official statement that the patient was admitted at the said hospital on May 24 for severe epigastric pain relative to her long standing health history.
SMPH clarified that the patient did not show any typical signs and symptoms for SARS-COV2 during her admission and the health workers who were exposed to her were using required personal protective equipment gear, therefore, imposing a low risk of contamination and the patient was discharged on May 25 as an outpatient and was referred for elective surgery procedure in Manila.
Dr. Trina Taboga-Talaga, chief of the Ilocos Sur Provincial Hospital-Gabriela Silang, said that the patient was referred to the Chinese General Hospital in Manila for operation and she had to undergo mandatory swab test prior to scheduled surgery leading to the incidental finding.
Surgical procedure was deferred and the patient was advised to submit to quarantine.
Contrary to advice, the patient went home to Tagudin.
Through online chat, the patient said that she was advised to undergo home quarantine since she is asymptomatic.
After that, she stayed for a day (May 30) at her relative’s house in Taguig then on May 31 she travelled back to the province and arrived at their family house at Tagudin.
“Sa bahay namin sa Tagudin, may isang room sa baba na may private comfort room. So doon ko napiling mag-undergo sana ng home quarantine since sa bahay na tinuluyan ko sa Taguig is may buntis at mga menor de edad, pati sa bahay namin sa Sevilla andoon ‘yong 3-year-old na anak ko,” she said.
On Sunday midnight, the patient experienced back pain and stomach pain so she was rushed to Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC) in San Fernando City, La Union where she is now confined and isolated.
She added that her husband is also isolated at the same hospital as he was the one who accompanied her going to ITRMC and during their stay in Manila.
When asked on her condition, she said that she feels okay and is still asymptomatic.
As a frontliner herself, she also recognized the bravery of every frontliner — how they are willing to sacrifice everything for this unseen battle.
“I ask them to put on the armor of God, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness and the sandals of faith. I may be COVID-19 positive for now, I believe the Lord is in control of everything,” she said.
On contact tracing, Gov. Singson said that the Provincial Surveillance Team will conduct extensive contact tracing in identified communities she had been to and the team will make use of rapid test kits to help screen these contacts.
He also appeals to everyone who may have been in close proximity to the patient to help the surveillance team simplify procedures by voluntarily informing health officers.
“My dear provincemates, as we transition from general community quarantine to modified general community quarantine, our new case proves that the invisible enemy is real and is very much still out there. Let us not take advantage of the freedom movement rebounded to us, let us even be more careful than we were three months back,” he added.
On where the patient might have acquired the disease, Dr. Talaga said, “Hanggang ngayon palaisipan pa sa amin kung saan niya posibleng na-acquire itong disease but we will update you on the feedback from our contact tracing team.”