37 patients under investigation in Mandaue undergo quarantine

THIRTY-SEVEN patients under investigation (PUIs) for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) are confined in two facilities in Mandaue City, the city’s health officer disclosed on Friday, March 13, 2020.

Dr. Rose Marie Tirado, Mandaue City Health Office chief, said these PUIs are already undergoing the 14-day quarantine in two hospitals, namely Chong Hua Hospital Mandaue and Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital.

She clarified that these patients are not yet confirmed Covid-19 cases and that they are still waiting for the results of the tests.

Of the 37 PUIs, 27 are Japanese students who showed flu-like symptoms and are confined in Chong Hua Hospital in Mandaue. The other 10 patients are travelers from other countries, who also showed symptoms, and are quarantined in Eversley.

Tirado assured that there is no need to panic because there are still no positive Covid-19 cases in Cebu.

“It is important to settle down and educate the public because they usually assume PUIs and PUMs (persons under monitoring) are positive, but they are only suspected,” said Tirado in a mix of English and Cebuano.

Patients admitted or seeking consultation due to respiratory symptoms without travel history to banned countries but have high index of suspicion are now considered PUI for Covid-19.

Jaime Bernadas, Department of Health-Central Visayas (DOH 7) director, said “a high index of suspicion,” means the doctor considers the diagnosis a strong possibility.

Bernadas said the DOH 7 has expanded its case definitions of PUI and PUM for Covid-19, Bernadas said on Thursday, March 12.

He said the expansion of the case definition is one of the innovations they made in line with the latest developments of Covid-19.

“The reason behind this is that we had a recommendation from our infectious diseases specialist and our regional epidemiologists that those patients with high index of suspicion, whether or not they came from areas on which the government has declared a ban (referring to China and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau, and parts of South Korea), and other countries that have more than 30 positive cases, are considered PUIs,” he explained.

The DOH initially defined PUIs as persons who had contact with Covid-19 patients and/or travel history to China and its special administrative regions and are manifesting symptoms of the disease such as flu, cough, and shortness of breath. PUMs, on the other hand, are contacts of Covid-19 patients and/or with travel history to countries with Covid-19 cases but are asymptomatic.

Bernadas said high index of suspicion was outside their previous criteria for defining PUI and PUM cases, and this was how they were able to track one positive case.

As of Thursday, the DOH 7 reported 52 admitted PUIs and 125 PUMs for Covid-19 in the region.

Of the 52 PUIs, 47 are in hospitals. These include two in Bohol; two in Cebu Province; three in Siquijor; two in Cebu City; 37 in Mandaue City, and one in Negros Oriental. Five mild cases were advised home isolation.

Bernadas said they reinforce all of their previous memoranda to all government and private hospitals to prepare for isolation rooms and be prepared for eventualities when they receive more patients coming in for consultation and for possible admission.

Meanwhile, the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) has created a Quick Reaction Team and Rationale Standby Support Force composed of personnel from all police offices.

The Quick Reaction Team has 32 police personnel who will assist health officers during incidents related to Covid-19.

The Rationale Standby Support Force is composed of 49 police personnel who will be deployed if other cities will need help in crowd control during incidents such as panic buying.

PMaj. Mercy Villaro, public information officer of the MCPO, said there has been no reported chaos caused by panic buying in Mandaue City.

But in case it happens, they will coordinate with the security agency of the establishments as well as the owners so that they could deploy their personnel for enforcement. (KDF / WBS)