The Department of Health (DOH) has reported on Saturday afternoon 34 new COVID-19 cases (PH65-PH98), bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 98.
The details of these new cases are currently being validated by DOH teams and will be provided to the public as soon as the information is available and verified by the Department. In addition, the DOH is also verifying reports of additional cases.
“Now it is our turn to do our part in mitigating the spread of the disease. The DOH earnestly asks for everyone’s cooperation. Our front-line health workers and medical personnel are risking their safety to respond to the needs of the public, all we ask is for you to do your part: practice preventive measures, go on strict home quarantine if you are experiencing mild symptoms, and help halt the spread of fake news. The success of our measures to contain COVID-19 is hinged on your participation. We will get through this together,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.
“At this most trying time, our strongest weapon as a nation is Vigilance, Preparedness, and Solidarity. We are seeing these values at play now as DOH is receiving an influx of support from individuals and organizations who are willing to render assistance in any way they can. Let this be a reminder for all Filipinos to step up to the plate and heed the call for cooperation,” Duque said.
On Health Workers being Reported as PUIs and PUMs.
DOH reported that the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) is limiting its services after several health personnel were exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case.
The confirmed case (PH37) was the previously announced mortality last March 12 who was admitted at PHC. PH37 was reported to have no history of travel and close contact to a confirmed patient. Several of the PUIs and PUMs were exposed to PH37. Prior to the confirmation of the PH37’s diagnosis, healthcare workers were managing the case as a non-communicable case and were unable to wear the required personal protective equipment (PPE).
As of 2 p.m., Saturday, PHC has 13 patients under investigation (PUIs) – 12 health workers and 1 non-health person. PHC sent home four patients under monitoring (PUMs) today who were previously quarantined in a restricted area in the hospital, while an additional 6 PUMs are still quarantined in the facility. They are also currently verifying the number of PUMs in home quarantine.
As of now, PHC is limiting its hospital operations to accommodate in-patient and emergency cases only. Services in the Outpatient Department were temporarily stopped last March 11 and are expected to reopen on March 16. The Catheterization Laboratory where PH37 had her procedure was also closed and disinfected. Hospital services for Z-benefit packages and elective cases are temporarily cancelled until further notice. Currently, the human resource complement of PHC is being realigned by the management to provide continuous service to the admitted patients.
In addition, Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City has also reported several health workers being exposed to the COVID-19 virus. DOH is still verifying data on the exact figures and the updated conditions of the health workers.
“I assure our health workers that you have the full support of the whole Department as we go through this ordeal together. I commend the commitment of our health workers, who amidst the risks they are currently facing, are still serving and saving the lives of our kababayans. Our commitment to safeguard the health and well-being of our healthcare workers remains to be our priority,” Duque said.
On Advice for Travelers from NCR.
DOH advises all travelers coming from the National Capital Region who are without symptoms to undergo strict home quarantine for 14 days. Travelers from NCR who are out of the region will be considered as PUMs. Travelers from Metro Manila with fever and or any respiratory symptoms will be considered as PUIs and are advised to seek medical attention from a health facility.
The DOH reminds the public that all land, domestic sea and domestic air travel to and from Metro Manila will be suspended beginning midnight of March 15, 2020. Residents of Metro Manila are advised to stay in their homes and avoid unnecessary movements within the area.
“Let us cooperate with our healthcare workers and local government authorities to stop the spread of this disease to other communities. The Department is issuing guidelines for the health and safety of all Filipinos. In turn, let us follow these stringent infection prevention interventions without fail. Only through the genuine help of all Filipinos will we be able stop this health emergency,” the Health Chief concluded./Stacy Ang