First PUI for n-CoV in Region 12 in ‘strict isolation and medical management’

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 09 February) — The Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12 reported on Sunday its first patient under investigation (PUI) for the deadly novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV).

In a press statement dated February 8 but released on Sunday morning, the DOH-12 said the patient is currently in “strict isolation and medical management” in an undisclosed hospital in the region.

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

The DOH-12 said the reported PUI should not trigger fear among the public because “the patient is still under investigation and is not yet positively confirmed (for 2019-nCoV).”

It advised residents not to panic and always practice precautionary measures, especially proper sanitation and healthy lifestyle.

The press statement said specimen from the PUI has been collected and sent to the DOH’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City for confirmatory testing.

It noted that strict infection and control measures are being implemented while it is waiting for the release of the laboratory test result.

Region 12, also referred to as Soccsksargen, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato and the cities of Koronadal, General Santos, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato City which voted for inclusion in the Bangsamoro Autonoous Region in Muslim Mindanao but has yet to be turned over to the autonomous region.

The DOH-12 reminded residents about the need for frequent hand washing, eating of nutritious food to boost the immune system, and proper cough etiquette by maintaining distance, and covering the mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing.

“Avoid close contact with people showing cold or flu-like symptoms, limit going to crowded places and avoid eating food that were not properly cooked,” it said.

It also urged residents who are showing signs and symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing to seek consultation at the nearest health center or hospital.

DOH-12 officials and personnel did not provide further details on the PUI.

Last week, the City Health Office here reported a person under monitoring (PUM) for the 2019-nCoV but the latter was already cleared after completing a two-week self-quarantine “without any sign of illness.”

The PUM, a Chinese businessman who had long been staying in the city, was placed under monitoring after traveling to Wuhan, China last month for the Chinese New Year holidays.

Four Chinese tourists, including a minor, from Fujian province in China are undergoing quarantine at the DOH-managed Regional Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Alabel town, Sarangani province.

Dr. Rochelle Oco, acting head of the City Health Office (CHO), maintained in an advisory released late Saturday that there are no confirmed cases of the 2019-nCoV in the city.

She reiterated that the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases have been closely monitoring the situation in the area.

“Stricter infection control strategies are being implemented in (local) hospitals and the CHO is in close coordination with the DOH and Bureau of Quarantine,” she said.

She added that they have implemented enhanced surveillance system and community engagement strategies through the activated Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams. (MindaNews)