The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) of Mountain Province has sounded the alarm bell after a four-year-old patient infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) escaped from a Benguet isolation facility but was subsequently located.
PDRRMC is appealing to drivers and fellow passengers, who rode with the child (Mankayan Case 263) in two commuter vans, to get in touch with health officers.
The vans plied the Mankayan-Abatan, Buguias, Abatan, Buguias-Bontoc and Bontoc to Banaue routes.
The patient, also afflicted with a congenital heart disease, was swabbed on 3 December, confirmed positive three days later and stayed at a facility in Mankayan town while waiting to be transported to Benguet General Hospital.
On 7 December or a day after the swab test result was released, the mother sneaked out with the child and went home to Talubin, Bontoc in Mountain Province with her two other children.
Authorities eventually located them and the child is now confined at Bontoc General Hospital.
The family and close contacts in Talubin have been locked down while the mother is under investigation.
Seventy-six positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Mankayan on 7 and 8 December while total active cases are at 298.
Three villages identified as mining camps (Paco, Marivic and Sapid) are on lockdown until 20 December. Personnel from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and Office of Civil Defense-Cordillera will perform mass testing next week.
The total number of confirmed cases in Benguet province reached 2,372 as of 6 December, according to the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
Most of the cases were recorded in La Trinidad (727 or 31 percent of total cases), followed by Itogon with 695 (29 percent) and Tuba with 418 (18 percent).
PHO noted the surge in cases in October from the mining areas of Itogon and Tuba.
After control measures were implemented, cases decreased starting 8 November.
However, in the succeeding days, gradual increase in cases also happened in Bakun and Mankayan, mostly involving employees of Headcor and Lepanto Mines.
The number of recoveries in the province was at 1,850 as of 6 December.
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