75 Mental Health hospital employees and patients with COVID-19

Some 75 employees and patients at the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) were infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said.

Of the 75, 62 are employees at the Mandaluyong health facility and 13 are psychiatric patients, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing.

“Lima po sa kanila ay gumaling na mula sa COVID-19 (Five of them have recovered from COVID-19.),” Vergeire said, referring to four employees and one patient.

None of those who tested positive have died, Vergeire said, as the DOH continues to work with the NCMH managing the afflicted.

She said that health workers who tested positive but did not show symptoms are now on home quarantine and are being monitored daily by the DOH.

“Samanatalang ang mga health workers na nakitaan ng sintomas ay naka-admit sa iba’t ibang ospital (Meanwhile, health workers with symptoms were admitted to different hospitals.),” she said.

Vergeire said the patients who also contracted the disease are being cared for at the NCMH.

The NCMH made headlines last week after one of its officials was transferred to another facility for allegedly being vocal about the COVID-19 situation in the hospital.

Clarita Avila, the NCMH chief administrative officer, alleged that personnel were quarantined because of COVID-19 exposure and several patients in its psychiatric ward have died.

Avila said she was being “harassed” and “persecuted” for speaking out.

Last month, photos of NCMH workers wearing improvised personal protective equipment were also released by media.

NCMH chief Dr. Roland Cortez has denied any cover-up and ordered Avila to stop speaking to the media.

Cortez also denied that the facility lacked PPEs.

As of Tuesday, there have been 6,599 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines./Stacy Ang

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