Covid-19 cases in Philippines now at 52

(UPDATED) The Department of Health (DOH) announced Thursday, March 12, three more confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country, bringing the total to 52.

The three new cases involved a 69-year-old Filipino who has been confined at The Medical City; a 26-year-old Filipino who was admitted to the Makati Medical Center; and a 79-year-old Filipino who was brought to the Asian Hospital and Medical Center.

The DOH's list of confirmed cases show that the 79-year-old Filipino (Patient 52) has a history of travel to the United Kingdom.

The DOH and deployed surveillance teams, in cooperation with concerned local government units, are now conducting "extensive information-gathering" and contact tracing activities on the new cases.

“So we continually ask the public to cooperate and help us in the investigation and contact tracing activities. Individuals with history of known exposure to a positive patient and/or travel to areas with local transmission, within and outside the country, presenting with mild symptoms are advised to self-isolate and be home quarantined for 14 days. Those presenting severe and critical symptoms need to be immediately admitted to health facilities. Let us be responsible with our own health, family’s well being, and that of our community,” said DOH Secretary Francisco Duque in a statement.

On Wednesday, March 11, the DOH also announced 16 additional cases of Covid-19 in the country and confirmed that another patient died.

The DOH identified the second mortality as Patient 35, a 67-year-old Filipino woman.

The first confirmed death was a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan, China who died in February due to pneumonia.

Patient 35, who experienced symptoms on February 29, was admitted last March 5 at the Manila Doctors’ Hospital and swabbed for testing last March 8. She tested positive for the new virus last March 11 and passed away around noon of the same day due to severe pneumonia.

The DOH said the patient had existing medical conditions, namely, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. She was admitted together with her husband, patient 34, who remains confined at the Manila Doctors Hospital.

“Our recent mortality have underlying medical conditions, making the patient extremely vulnerable to Covid-19. So we reiterate that the best way to protect yourself from the disease is to keep yourself healthy and practice general preventive measures: proper handwashing, cough etiquette, and social distancing,” said Duque.

According to the health department, elderly people (average of 66 years) and those with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, and immunosuppression are the ones vulnerable to Covid-19.

“We further urge those who are immunocompromised and are with existing health conditions to be more vigilant and avoid crowded areas and mass gatherings,” Duque added. (LMY/SunStar Philippines)