Village on lockdown after resident with COVID-19-like symptoms dies

Intensive disinfection initiated by the municipal government of Ajuy, Iloilo at the town’s public market and Barangay Rojas where a suspected case of COVID-19 expired on Monday. (Photo from Facebook page of Ajuy Mayor Jett Rojas)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan and Emme Rose Santiagudo

A 59-year-old woman from Ajuy, Iloilo who died on March 30, 2020 had symptoms resembling that of a confirmed case of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

According to Ajuy Mayor Jett Rojas, the suspected case is a 59-year-old female from Barangay Rojas with a Type 2 Uncontrolled Diabetes but had no travel history to places with confirmed local transmission and exposure to a known case.

“The suspected case was from Barrio Rojas. The barangay has not recorded any persons under monitoring (PUM). The patient had no travel history as well in Metro Manila, abroad, and even Iloilo City,” he told Daily Guardian on Tuesday.

Rojas said the patient was admitted to a hospital on March 26 due to severe tonsillitis.

The patient was also experiencing fever, he added.

Kagapon tungod indi siya katindog kag ginahilanat ginrefer siya sa isa ka hospital in Iloilo City kag didto siya na-expire,” he said.

Rojas said the woman was neither a Person Under Investigation (PUI) nor a Person Under Monitoring (PUM).

PUIs are persons with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 who have previously been exposed to confirmed cases and/or traveled to infected areas either here or abroad, while PUMs are persons who have no signs and symptoms but have travel history to infected areas and/or have had exposure to PUIs.

Rojas had previously denied that there was a PUI in Ajuy and dismissed the information as “fake news.”

According to Rojas, the woman had held a gathering at her home on March 17, with seven guests from Iloilo City.

The guests had been traced and did not exhibit any illness or symptoms suffered by their host.

“None of them had travel history and tanan man sila asymptomatic as of yesterday,” Rojas added.

Health workers in Ajuy are now closely monitoring the family and relatives of the patient.

The names of the two close contacts of the patient which is her husband and her sister has been submitted to the Provincial Health Office (PHO) to be subjected for testing, according to Rojas.

Ang aton lang subong gina-ayo sa Department of Health (DOH) 6 nga ang close contact nga bana and utod itest sila nga duha as soon as possible,” he said.



The recent death prompted Rojas to order a lockdown of Barangay Rojas, where the woman resided.

All of the barangay’s residents are now considered PUMs and were told by local officials to report if they had fever or were experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

Barangay Tanods are overseeing the entry and exit points of the said barangay 24/7.

The local government has also conducted intensive disinfection in the said barangay and the public market of Ajuy.

Arpund 110 households of Barangay Rojas which were affected by the lockdown will be distributed with 25 kilos of rice and dried fish courtesy of the local government, Rojas added.

Moreover, Rojas said he also donated his salary for the month of March to serve as financial assistance for the residents of Barangay Rojas.

“Ginatan-aw naton nga dapat magsympathize man kita sa ila maskin gamay lang nga partidahon sang mga pamilya kag luyag ko man mabatyagan nila nga ari ko sa likod lang nila,” he said.

The mayor appealed to the public to avoid panic and instead practice good hygiene, social distancing, and stay at home.

“Sa aton nga pumuluyo, importante subong maybuylugunay kita kay tanan kita gasakripisyo. Amo na masakripisyo gid kita gamay and mamati sa aton mga awtoridad kay indi naton gusto nga ang gakatabo sa iban nga pungsod, matabo man sa aton kay tam-an ka budlay gid,” he said.

Rojas said that the municipal government will ask for the Department of Health’s (DOH) assistance to transport the PUMs to the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City for testing.

Rojas has appealed the Sangguniang Bayan of Ajuy to come up with a resolution urging the Department of Education (DepEd) to allow the town to use public schools as shelters for PUMs.

Rojas added that he had already written to DepEd for the use of the schools but he had not received any reply.

Ajuy’s public market had also been closed on March 31 for disinfection. The market reopens today, April 1.

Rojas assured town residents that they are doing their best to stop the virus from spreading.

As of March 30, Iloilo province has recorded five cases of Covid-19 with one fatality from the town of Lambunao.