Swabs taken from San Andres’ 1st COVID case, close contacts

A swab specimen taken from Bicol #83, the San Andres Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) listed among the 17 close contacts of the COVID-19 positive San Miguel OFW, was sent last Monday (June 15, 2020) to the Bicol Medical Center in Naga City for testing.

Aside from the 39-year old single mother’s specimen, the batch included members of her family in barangay Caragñag and a number of people with whom she had contact with since her arrival, including LGU personnel and other frontliners.

Information gathered from the municipal government and other sources indicate that during the overland travel from Manila, the OFW sat just behind the seat occupied by the San Miguel OFW.

After spending the night with the fellow OFW inside the same classroom at Tabaco National High School (TNHS) on June 7, she boarded the Regina Calixta ferry to her native town and was escorted by Emergency Rescue Unit (ERU) personnel to Caragñag to undergo home quarantine.

When news broke out that the San Miguel OFW tested positive for COVID-19 on June 10, she was immediately transferred to the town’s isolation facility where a swab specimen was taken from her.

Mayor Peter Cua directed health personnel to regularly monitor her health condition and at the same time begin contract tracing.

Three days later, on June 13, when the positive result came back, the LGU ordered the lockdown of the residential area where her home was located as well as the isolation of all identified close contacts.

Another swab test will be conducted on Bicol #83 after seven (7) days.

The specimens were taken to Naga City as the Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory (BRDRL) is undergoing maintenance, a source told the Tribune.

Meanwhile, the San Andres OFW reportedly told local health officials that she was most likely infected by the COVID-positive fellow OFW when they stayed overnight at the same classroom at Tabaco NHS on June 7.

She maintained that there was no time inside the room that they conversed face-to-face without using masks.

Although she admitted having talked with Bicol #82, it was made at a distance as the classroom was big enough and she wore a face mask at all times.

Most likely, the woman said, she was infected while using the comfort room, which she had asked the male OFW to clean. She had noted that he was already suffering from colds at the time.

One of Bicol #82’s fellow passengers at the Virac-bound ferry, a ranking official of the DepEd Schools Division of Catanduanes, distinctly recalled him as coughing frequently inside the airconditioned cabin during the four-hour trip.

There were 10 close contacts on the ship, including three officials of national agencies in the same cabin with him, while a police officer, two Human Resource for Health (HRH) nurses and two San Miguel health workers interacted with him upon arrival.

Majority of them appears to have tested negative for the virus, with two more results being awaited as of presstime last Sunday.

Bicol #83 has been transferred to an office building inside the San Andres Eco-Park as the Balay Silangan is situated in a populated area of the poblacion.

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