Total isolation: Health officials warn of continuous community transmission in Cebu City sub-village

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Cebu City (CNN Philippines, April 17) — Despite the widespread transmission of COVID-19 in a sub-village in Cebu City, the Department of Health in Central Visayas sees no more need to conduct COVID-19 testing for thousands of residents in Sitio Zapatera in Barangay Luz.

Health officials on Thursday said the whole area, with over 9,000 residents, is considered as “contaminated” with the deadly virus. Isolation measures will continue for those confirmed positive of the coronavirus disease, they added.

"We have already deemed (Sitio Zapatera) as a contaminated place. And we will just monitor everyone who will be symptomatic and bring them to the facility," Department of Health Central Visayas director Jaime Bernadas said in a virtual press conference.

Fifty-three residents from Sitio Zapatera — including 9-month-old twins — tested positive for COVID-19, with most of them either asymptomatic or showing mild flu-like symptoms.

Related: Two infants infected as Cebu posts largest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases

Despite the small percentage of infected residents, health authorities ordered the total isolation of the community due to its congestion. They also warned of “continuous” community transmission.

Bernadas said only one COVID-19 patient is admitted at the hospital, while the rest of the positive cases will just be placed in a temporary quarantine facility near Sitio Zapatera. He added the two infants will be brought to the hospital for close monitoring.

The local health official said there has been "sustained community transmission" in Sitio Zapatera since its first COVID-positive patient was detected on April 7.

"We ask all residents in sitio Zapatera to cooperate to protect the neighborhood so that not all of them will become COVID positive," said Bernadas.

The entire island of Cebu has 90 COVID-19 cases, as of Thursday. Most of the cases are found in Cebu City with 77 infected people.

Cebu-based journalist Dale Israel contributed to this report.