MANILA, Philippines – Only a day after the Philippines confirmed its first case of novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), suspected cases spiked to 31 as of Friday (January 31).
Three of the persons under investigation (PUI) are confined in isolation at a hospital in the country’s capital, Manila.
“There are 3 PUIs admitted currently in San Lazaro (Hospital),” confirmed Dr. Ferchito Avelino of the Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau.
“The two were the couple where we had the first nCoV case and her partner, and a new case was admitted yesterday,” he added.
The DOH said they opted to reveal the location of the three suspected cases including the one confirmed case of 2019-nCoV in order to provide the public with rightful information and prevent misinformation.
“Because every other hospital in Metro Manila was panicking […] to put a lot of people to rest and just be assured that nothing is being hidden from them, we thought it was better to disclose and you know San Lazaro hospital is well-equipped,” explained DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo.
“They have been handling infectious cases for the 400 years and everybody of course in the hospital knows that the patient is in there, so I don’t think there is any harm in disclosing. In fact, it puts to rest a lot of speculations,” he added.
Meanwhile, the DOH also started contact tracing to determine the condition of the people who had contact with the Chinese patient confirmed of nCoV.
The Department said they have already located the persons’ address since their arrival on January 21.
“Inaalam namin kung saan at ano iyong eroplano na sinakyan nila. Kung ano iyong seat number, kung saan sila nakaupo tapos we will be contacting the people around the seat para mabigyan sila ng advice (We are verifying where and what flight they were in; their seat number and we will be contacting the people around the seat to give them advice),” explained Avelino.
“Maliban doon sa eroplano tinitignan na rin natin iyong mga crew na nag- serve doon sa eroplano so bibigyan natin din natin ng advise (Aside from the aircraft, we are also tracing the crew who were on board the same flight so we could them advise them as well),” he added.
Meanwhile, major private hospitals are assured to assist to all suspected cases of nCoV as they have state-of-the-art facilities.
Based on DOH order, hospitals are reminded that they cannot turn away patients because of suspected nCoV and they have to treat them and manage them in their facility.
“Kung ang isang ospital ay may kapasidad para matugunan ang pangangailangan, mas maigi pa pong hindi na ilipat ang pasyente (If a hospital has the capacity to address the need, it is better not to move the patient),” Domingo explained.
“Ang importante lang ay makuhanan sila ng specimen para maipadala sa RITM. Importante po ang infection control kung papalipat lipatin ang pasyente mas mataas iyong posibilidad na maaaring makahawa pa sa ibang tao (What’s important is to get samples from them and send them to RITM. Infection control is important. The more we move the patient, the more risk of infection),” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
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