Three San Lazaro Hospital healthcare workers assigned in wards handling patients with the deadly coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) have tested positive, the hospital’s chief adult infectious diseases Dr. Rontgene Solante said on Sunday.
Solante said all healthcare workers in the wards were tested after one or two showed symptoms of COIVID-19.
The hospital had already conducted contact tracing and none who were exposed to the three.
“When you are dealing with this infection, when you regularly talk with health workers, there’s always this fear and uncertainty they may be having the infection… the fear they cannot go back to their homes and see their families,” said Solante.
Solante said he will recommend to the hospital’s management to test its personnel every two weeks. He said this is among the parameters to alleviate that fear.
With that alleviation, they are encouraged to work and be part of the management of these patients, he said.
Solante said SLH has already reached its full capacity in accepting COVID-19 patients as 27 or 28 out of 36 beds are currently occupied.
“Just yesterday, we had new eight admissions. Probably today, we’ll be in full capacity already. If the wards are already full, that’s the time that we cannot really accept patients,” Solante said.
Solante said their personal protective equipment (PPEs) are only allocated in this number of rooms.
“We also have to factor in our health workers. We cannot compromise safety of our healthcare workers while taking care of these patients,” said Solante.
Furthermore, Solante related that those positive for the virus have acquired the disease manifested symptoms before Luzon went on lockdown two weeks ago.
Luzon is currently under the enhanced community quarantine as COVID-19 cases rise in the country.
“The incubation period by which a particular individual will manifest is within 14 (days). Probably, we can add another week and look at the trend,” he said.
After that week, he said they will evaluate and see if the trend of the infection is going down.
“But up to now, we have observed it is still going up,” said Solante.
He said the imposition of a community quarantine should not only entail the locking down of that community, but the need to be proactive, “going house to house,” to survey who are symptomatic.
“Who are showing the mildest symptoms? Then, you have to give instruction. Are they being strictly quarantined? Are they in a separate room? Are they wearing face mask? If you cannot do these things, and they are still within that confine of the room together with the other members of the family, then you continue to transmit the virus,” he said.
“And when they go out, like they go to the market to buy something or to buy their necessity, then that can be an area also that some of them that can be mildly symptomatic, they don’t know they are already symptomatic, can transmit the infection still in the community,” he said./Stacy Ang