COVID-19 patients in Baguio City volunteer to reveal identity

Michelle Soriano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 05:56 AM

While health authorities limit to disclosing only the gender, age, and travel history of confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, some patients in Baguio City prefer to reveal their identities for faster contact tracing.

Joel Junsay, a 52-year old government nutrition program coordinator, shared on Facebook that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Junsay said he made a “difficult but necessary decision” to inform those he came in contact with to undergo self-quarantine or have themselves checked.

He started experiencing symptoms on March 12.

On March 26, Junsay’s CT-scan results were read by Huawei’s artificial intelligence analyzer which is being used by Baguio City for early screening of possible COVID-19 cases. It was revealed then that he acquired a viral infection which prompted the city to immediately conduct contact tracing. A swab test was done upon his admission to the hospital on that same day.

Results came back positive on March 28. The local government confirmed he is the first case of COVID-19 local transmission as he has no travel history outside of Baguio.

A frontliner himself, Junsay asked for prayers from the public. He is still in an isolation room, experiencing difficulty in breathing.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to request if you could kindly include me in your prayers as well as the frontliners who are out there who continue to work, fighting the battle to save lives,” Junsay said.

A day after Junsay’s revelation, a couple from Las Piñas City followed suit.

Enrique and Jaysay Bacted, both 67 years old, arrived in Baguio City on March 15. They stayed in Jaysay’s maternal home until March 16.

On March 17, the wife visited a private hospital for a check-up and swab test. She was later confined in another private hospital. Meanwhile, her husband went into home quarantine.

However, a week after, the husband was admitted to the hospital due to fever. Their results arrived on March 28, showing they tested positive for COVID-19.

The local government reveals they also briefly stopped at a Petron station along NLEX and at a relative’s place in Barangay Nancayasan, Urdaneta City.

The latest to disclose his identity is an expatriate vacationing in Baguio City.

Rafael Serrano, 59 years old, flew in from Bangkok on March 12.

He started developing symptoms on March 16, the day he visited several establishments in the city. Three days after, he still attended a family celebration.

On March 27, he was admitted at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. A day after, his results came back positive for COVID-19.

In an official statement, Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong appealed to residents to refrain from ostracizing patients who come out in the open.

Magalong said they are only responding to his call “in the hope of saving lives.”