It is, indeed, a welcome development that the number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in Cebu City has drastically declined these last few days. Based on the latest data gathered by Octa Research, an independent and interdisciplinary research group composed primarily of academics from the University of the Philippines and the University of Sto. Tomas, the Covid-19 situation in the country showed a daily attack rate per 1,000 population in Cebu decreased for two consecutive weeks. Data was taken from the last two weeks of September to the first week of October.
Fewer than 10 cases were recorded everyday during that period. The daily attack rate measures the proportion of new infections per 1,000 population in a certain day. This rate is contrary to what happened in the previous months when cases reached double digits. This monitoring report of Octa Reseach has been reinforced by the data released daily by the Department of Health (DOH 7).
But these data were recorded before Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella signed an executive order allowing the re-opening of some non-leisure establishments and extend their store hours in malls. We know already the possible repercussions of this new policy. People tend to go out because of a more relaxed restriction and we cannot avoid pockets of mass gathering in these reopened places.
While the government has lifted some restrictions, we should not be complacent and lower our guard because the virus is still pretty much around. We don’t want the situation that other countries experienced when they relaxed their restrictions, which was a spike in Covid-19 cases. We should remain vigilant.
Are some hospitals not following protocols in handling suspected Covid-19 patients? I ask this question following a complaint I received. Here’s the concern.
“Last Saturday, I was at the emergency room at (name of hospital withheld while I get its side). I was expecting that there was another triage area for suspected cases of Covid like high fever or so but there was none.
“So, I was triaged then and waited for the doctor’s order.
Basically, what I need was to check my blood pressure and sugar as I am HTN and a pre-diabetic taking medications. It would not take too long to do it. Until patients started coming in. Then, there came an older patient on a wheelchair with no mask and kind of having short breathing because I saw his nose flaring.
“They took him straight to one of the cubicles and they all wore their PPEs. X-ray was done and showed severe pneumonia as the doctor explained to the relatives in front of me. The doctor ordered a swab test and direct admission and isolation of the patient. Hopefully, that patient will turn negative. So, why are they not conducting screening on these kinds of patients before mixing them with non-Covid patients?
“Not only that. The blood pressure monitor they used for that patient was the same one they were supposed to use on me. I complained and told them to disinfect it. I could have complained, but I did not want to stay around and I left the ER without saying anything. If this is how lax they are, there is no wonder why there would be an easy cross infection. Hospital officials need to address this issue and revisit their protocol and procedures and educate their staff.
(I forwarded this concern to the hospital administration but, as of this writing, I did not receive any response. Pending that, I am also withholding the letter-writer’s name. — BGN).