Ten of 12 Persons Under Investigations in Northern Mindanao test negative of covid-19

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By MARK FRANCISCO & MDN Digital News Team
March 21, 2020

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UPDATED AS OF MARCH 22...

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - A top-ranking official of the Department of Health yesterday revealed that at least ten of the 12 patients under investigations at the regional hospital in Cagayan de Oro, already tested negative of SARS-COV-2, the causative agent of coronavirus disease.

DOH-10 Regional Director Adriano P. Suba-an said the TEN patients currently isolated and quarantined at NMMC did not show the viral RNA, which is present in persons infected with the deadly coronavirus disease (covid-19).

The DOH official said the negative result of the ten patients was based on swab testing that were sent to Metro Manila.

PROBLEMS ON TESTING KITS

Dr Jose Chan, the chief of hospital at NMMC revealed that until now they hve not received their covid-19 testing kits, which had put them in dilemma in easily identifying whether the PUIs were already covid-19 positive or negative of the deadly strain.

Chan said that the local health authorities have been asking the national government to provide provincial hospitals the “testing kits” to be able to immediately detect a patient's illness.

“Our problem is that we have to transport samplings for laboratory testing to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine in Mandaluyong before we could determine whether the patient is COVID-19 positive,” Chan said.

As a result, two of those PUIs who have died this week were not known whether they were coronavirus positive or not. They were only identified by local attending physicians as persons who died because of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI).

The chief of hospital also reported that those who died of SARI were not residents of Cagayan de Oro, as they were only referred by other local hospitals in Northern Mindanao since NMMC is the most equipped government hosptal in the region, fully supported by DOH-10 and DOH National. 

NMMC MEDICAL WORKERS QUARANTINED

Dr Chan also revealed that he has implemented covid-19 prevetive measures at NMMC by having all doctors and nurses taking care of PUIs to undergo quarantine. This, even if they are off duty, as a way of effectively resisting contamination from those PUIs who are still waiting results of their lab tests.

He said the medical workers might spread the virus to their immediate families, friends and their circle of friends.  

Chan revealed this yesterday even as he said that they have provided a holding quarters for these medical personnel to rest after their 12-hour shift.

"It is there where they will sleep, it is there where they will eat," Chan said during a press conference Saturday, March 21.

The cycle is repeated for one whole week until they will be relieved by two other medical teams who will cover the 12-hour shifts each day for the next seven-day cycle.
Chan said that each medical team is composed of seven doctors and nurses or a total of 14 personnel on duty for a one-week rotation.

Within a 12-hour shift, each medical team is responsible for all the PUIs confined at the hospital.

Chan said he implemented this scheme to prevent a repeat of the case of the lone COVID-19 casualty at NMMC two weeks ago wherein all 50 hospital workers who cared for him were forced to undergo quarantine after he died due to the virus.

As of Saturday (March 21), there are 12 PUIs admitted at NMMC - the designated regional hub for infectious diseases in Northern Mindanao.

Of the 12, Chan said only one is on respirators and the rest are in stable condition. All of them are awaiting results of their COVID-19 tests.

Since the pandemic began in February, there were already 37 PUIs admitted at NMMC. Only one - Patient 40 - was confirmed positive for COVID-19 and eventually died.

 


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