AN OFFICIAL of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) urged hospitals and other medical facilities in the region to strictly implement measures to ensure that Covid-19 infections will not occur among their personnel.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, made the call after 18 health care workers, including six doctors, assigned in one department of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City tested positive of Covid-19 since December 2020.
Loreche said the incident should served as an “eye opener” for the health care industry on the need to be more mindful of their safety measures amid the pandemic.
She said those working in health care facilities and institutions have to be careful especially in the implementation of the infection control measures.
“Second lesson to be learned would be, you as a health care provider, if you do not feel well at a given period, at some point in time, even if your duty is really essential and vital, it is best really to stay at home or to have yourself tested first before you attend to your duties in the hospital,” Loreche said, in a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021.
Loreche said a total of 18 healthcare workers, including six doctors and 12 nurses and operating room attendants, assigned in VSMMC’s operating room (OR) complex reported positive for Covid-19.
Of the 18, she said 13 are asymptomatic while five manifested mild symptoms.
She said all of the 18 health workers are being isolated and quarantined.
Loreche said based on the report that was submitted to them, it started with one of the operating room nurses who reported for duty last Dec. 28.
The operating room nurse was not feeling well when he reported for his shift from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The sick nurse assisted in a surgical procedure in the OR despite his condition.
The OR nurse, she said, had a positive result for RT PCR on Dec. 29.
“The doctors mostly did surgical procedures sometime on Jan. 2 and I believe during that time, they already had the virus in their system,” she said.
Loreche said some of the doctors who turned out positive are also doing their clinic and surgical procedures in private hospitals.
She also said there was also another nurse who manifested symptoms on Jan. 1 and tested positive for the virus.
Since the doctors were part of the team of the operating room complex, they had themselves tested on Jan. 2 and yielded positive results.
She said since they clustered together in one area of the hospital, that particular part of the hospital had to be shut down.
In its official statement, VSMMC officials confirmed that they have closed their OR complex after some of their personnel were found positive of Covid-19.
Aside from isolation their personnel, intensive contact tracing is being to those recently in contact with their personnel, including the involved patients and the health care workers’ contacts in their household and in their clinics.
Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., VSMMC medical chief, said they will still accomodate patients who need emergency surgical procedures.
“Despite the risk of Covid-19, VSMMC continues to perform its mandate of providing quality healthcare service to the public. We urge the public to continue to protect themselves by following all infection prevention and control measures, such as the wearing of masks and face shields, observing proper hygiene and physical distancing,” Aquino said. (WBS)