MANILA, Philippines — A 68-year-old evacuee in Marikina has tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the city government to conduct rapid tests to prevent a possible outbreak of the disease among the evacuees displaced by Typhoon Ulysses, Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said yesterday.
Teodoro said the man was staying at the Barangay Barangka Elementary School, which was converted into an evacuation site following the onslaught of Ulysses last week.
The evacuee has not shown symptoms of COVID-19. He was taken to the Marikina Hotel to undergo quarantine for 14 days, Teodoro said.
“We also tested his family members. His 62-year-old wife and three children yielded negative results,” Teodoro said.
A contact tracing team was able to identify 13 evacuees who interacted with the positive patient. All of them tested negative for the virus.
The local government has set up rapid testing centers at all evacuation centers in Marikina.
As of yesterday, at least 15,000 people were still staying in evacuation sites in the city.
With limited test kits, Teodoro said they would prioritize evacuees with COVID-like symptoms, senior citizens, those with comorbidities and other vulnerable individuals.
The city government has ordered additional rapid test kits, the mayor said.
Teodoro also urged donors to include face shields and masks in their donations, saying these are needed by the evacuees to prevent the transmission of the virus.
As of Wednesday, there were 183 active COVID-19 cases in Marikina.
Meanwhile, the city government is planning to file a complaint against BF Corp., the company owned by Marikina Rep. Bayani Fernando, over a reclamation project along Marikina River, which allegedly contributed to the massive flooding in the city.
In an interview on GMA News, Teodoro said the reclamation project was linked to Fernando, whose firm the mayor said would not be spared from liability.
Teodoro said the city government did not issue a permit for the reclamation project.
“I’m expecting that both parties will have misunderstanding because of this complaint. But the needs of the people should prevail. We need to keep Marikina residents safe,” Teodoro said.
Thousands of houses were submerged in floodwaters last week when Ulysses struck Marikina. Damage to infrastructure reached about P10 billion, according to the mayor.
Marikina River’s water level rose to 22 meters during Typhoon Ulysses, which was higher than the level recorded during Ondoy at 21.5 meters.