Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Saturday announced that he tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“I’m sorry to inform you that I tested positive for Covid19 yesterday. To all who made contact with me, please do the appropriate protocols,” dela Rosa said in a statement.
This was also confirmed by the senator in a text message to GMA News Online.
Dela Rosa said four of them in their household tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Aside from him, his eldest daughter, driver and household helper got the infection.
"Negative si mrs. Apat kami positive. Ako, my eldest daughter, driver at katulong," the senator said.
"Ako lang may ubo," he added.
"He's okay naman po," a member of Dela Rosa's legislative staff told GMA News Online.
During the Senate’s closing of interpellation for the proposed P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021 on Friday, Senator Richard Gordon told his fellow lawmakers to observe if they would develop “symptoms” if one of them “got exposed to one of our colleagues yesterday.”
"The suspect is here on Wednesday. So that's Wednesday. We are now Friday," Senator Migz Zubiri responded.
It was not immediately made clear whether they were talking about a COVID-19 infection but Zubiri remarked that Gordon runs "the best testing center in the Philippines."
Though virtual attendance is recognized in Senate sessions, some senators and their staff along with resource persons from various government agencies were physically present for the budget deliberations this week.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Saturday said he immediately ordered a review of CCTV footage to check who sat near dela Rosa or talked to him last Wednesday.
"Kagabi nu'ng nalaman namin, siyempre nagkanerbiyosan. Pero tsinek muna natin, pinatignan ko agad sa CCTV sino-sino nakatabi, sino-sino nakadaupang palad," Sotto said in a radio interview.
Sotto said dela Rosa called and informed them of his test result.
"Tumawag naman siya agad. Sinabi niya agad," he said.
"Ginawa ni Sen. Zubiri, nerbiyoso 'yun, graduate 'yun e (ng COVID-19), nagpatawag agad ng doktor at nagdala ng pang-swab para lahat ng gustong magpa-test na maaaring andoon noong Wednesday ay magpa-check. So nagpa-check kami agad kahit madaling araw, 12:30," Sotto said. Zubiri had already recovered from COVID-19.
All those who attended the Senate session on Wednesday tested negative in an antigen swab test, Sotto said.
"Awa ng Diyos naman, lahat negative kasi maingat naman si Sen. Bato. Naka-mask siya, naka-face shield pa nga eh. Wala naman siyang kilos na alanganin saka sandali lang naman siya. 'Di naman siya nagtagal ng hanggang madaling araw," he added.
Sotto said the senators think dela Rosa's resistance may have weakened, making him prone to infection.
"Tingin namin, humina lang resistance niya. Kasi the day before, nag-bike sila ng anak niya. Naulanan tapos nainitan, naulanan. Ang tingin nga, humina resistance," he said.
Sotto said they advised those who were at the Senate on Wednesday to quarantine themselves.
"Sinabihan namin lahat (na mag-quarantine)... Mabuti na rin na mag-quarantine ng four to five days para safe. 'Pag may gusto magpa-swab, puwede kasi sa PCR (test), 'pag meron ka (ng coronavirus), makikita again," he added.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday reported 1,639 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total tally of cases to 415,067, as eight laboratories failed to submit reports on time.
The DOH also announced that total recoveries rose to 375,237 with 305 new ones while the death toll climbed to 8,025 after 27 more patients succumbed to the illness. —KG, GMA News