The number of COVID-19 cases in Bohol has reached 70 after 15 new cases were recorded over the weekend and on Monday in what has been seen as a sudden surge in community transmission of the disease in the province.
COVID-19 cases in Bohol in the past four months were mostly locally stranded individuals (LSI) believed to have been infected with the disease in their places of origin but Governor Art Yap on Monday announced that six of the 15 new infections were contracted through community transmission.
The governor has admitted that the development is a cause for concern.
“I call your attention to the fact that the Catigbian patient, is the 6th patient to be classified as a community transmission in the last 4 days. We must all be concerned,” said Yap.
The latest COVID-19 case was a 39-year-old man from Catigbian who is not an LSI or an overseas Filipino worker.
According to Yap, health authorities have yet to identify where and how the man was infected.
The patient has been admitted at the Catigbian Community Hospital for 10 days as of Monday while contact-tracing operations have been completed.
“Walay travel history ang pasyente. Sukad sa unang adlaw sa admission, gi-isolate na siya sa hospital, ug nahuman na usab ang contact tracing sa maong kaso,” said Yap.
The patient is believed to have already recovered from the disease as he was no longer having fever and cough while his rapid antibody test showed that he has generated IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibodies.
However, he will remain in isolation at the hospital pending the result of another polymerase chain-reaction test.
Two of the other latest cases of community-transmitted infections included a 13-year-old male resident of Tagbilaran City who is asymptomatic and a 76-year-old female resident of Calape who passed away on July 15.
Remains of the deceased woman were immediately buried while the boy and his family were placed in isolation at a government facility after he tested positive.
Both cases have led to the lockdown of at least 17 households in Tagbilaran City and Calape.
These were not the first community-transmitted cases in Bohol.
Last month, an 89-year-old man from Calape died of COVID-19 while a 60-year-old woman from Tagbilaran City was infected with the disease. Both had no travel history.
Contract tracing was done on the two cases but health authorities failed to identify how and where both persons contracted the disease.
Following the increase in community-transmitted cases, Yap reminded the public to continue observing social distancing measures and health protocols such as wearing of face masks and staying indoors.
He said that those who break health protocols will be fined P3,000 and will face imprisonment of up to one year.
“Aho kamong pahinumduman, nga ubos sa RA 11469 og sa Provincial Ordinance 2020-007, ang mga mapamatud-an nga naka-lapas sa mga kamandoan kabahin sa curfew, pag-sulob sa face mask, social distancing or mass gatherings, og ang mga establisemento nga dili mag-patuman sa kining mga kamandoan, silotan sa multa nga nag-kantidad sa tres mil pesos og ma preso sud sa unum ka buwan ngadto sa usa ka tuig,” the governor said.
Data from the Capitol indicated that there were 23 active COVID-19 cases, 44 recoveries and three deaths in the province as of Monday afternoon.