COVID-19 cases rise to 98; Philippine Heart Center’s personnel failed to don personal protective equipment
MANILA – The Department of Health said there were 34 new COVID-19 cases known as PH65 – PH 98 which brought the total of confirmed cases in the Philippines to 98.
In a virtual press briefing late Saturday afternoon, Asst. Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said their teams are still validating the details of these new cases.
“We are also verifying reports of additional cases,” she said.
Reading a statement from Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, the health official said during this “most trying time, the strongest weapon available is Vigilance, preparedness and Solidarity.”
Meanwhile, Asst. Secretary Vergeire confirmed the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) has opted to limit its services after several health personnel were exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case.
She said the confirmed case PH37 died last March 12 after admission to the tertiary health facility. The patient had no travel history and close contact to confirmed patient.
“Several of the Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) and Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs) were exposed to the patient,” she added.
However, prior to the confirmation of the patient’s diagnosis, healthcare workers were managing the case as non-communicable case and were unable to wear the required personal protective equipment (PPE).
She added the Philippine Heart Center has 13 patients under investigation, composed of 12 health workers and one non-health person. The facility sent home four patients under monitoring (PUMs) today who were previously quarantined in a restricted area in the health facility. The officials are verifying the number of PUMs in home quarantine.
Philippine Hearth Center has limited its hospital operations to accommodate in-patient and emergency cases only. Services in the Outpatient Department were temporarily stopped last Wednesday, March 11, and expected to reopen on Monday, March 16. It was learned the Catheterization Laboratory where PH 37 had her procedure was closed and disinfected. Hospital services for Z-benefit packages and elective cases have been temporarily cancelled until further notice. Personnel complement is being adjusted by the hospital management to provide continuous services to admitted patients.
At the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City, still in Metro Manila, several health workers have been exposed to COVID-19 virus.
“DOH is still verifying data on the exact figures and the updated conditions of health workers,” the Health official added.
Secretary Duque commended the commitment of health workers “who amidst the risks they currently face, are still service and saving the lives of our compatriots.”
“Our commitment to safeguard the health and well-being of our healthcare workers remains to be our priority,” Secretary Duque concluded his statement.
Asst. Secretary Vergeire said travelers 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 Persons Under Monitoring. Travelers from Metro Manila with fever and or any respiratory symptoms will be considered PUIs and are advised to seek medical attention from the nearest medical facility.
With the suspension of all land, domestic sea and domestic air travel to and from Metro Manila effective 12:01 A.M. Sunday, residents are advised to stay in their homes and avoid unnecessary movements in the area. (Melo M. Acuña)
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire. (Screen shot/PCOO Virtual Presser)