Couple who tested positive for COVID-19 moved to hospital isolation; their children, too

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 March) — The couple who tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including their children, will be placed in the isolation facility at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) after allegedly undergoing a  “strict home quarantine” for manifesting signs and symptoms of the infection after arriving from Metro Manila last March 6, Mayor Sara Duterte said on Sunday.

In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) 87.5, Duterte said the Department of Health-Davao informed her that the couple, both aged 47, who had been under home quarantine for nearly two weeks, had already agreed that they be transferred to the hospital, including their children.

Duterte said several residents in the city had expressed concern why these two patients were not isolated at the SPMC despite being previously declared persons under investigation (PUIs) for manifesting the symptoms of the disease, having had a history of travel from Manila prior to the release of laboratory results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

The isolation facility of the state-owned Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

“Daghang nasuko ani sa ilaha because wala kuno sa hospital. PUI lang man gud sila daghan og mga PUIs nga gipa-uli sa ilang balay, gipa-isolate og dili gipaduol sa laing tao (Several people were infuriated because they were not in the hospital. They are only PUIs and several PUIs were sent home where they were isolated, and prohibited from getting in contact with other people),” she said.

She added the hospital would have patients in isolation if their results show they test positive for the disease.

The mayor said another testing would be conducted to determine if they are clear of the disease.

To declare them free of the infection, at least two negative test results that are “48 hours apart should be done before the patients will be cleared of COVID-19,” it said.

The two new confirmed cases, now identified as PH262 and PH263, brought to three the total number of persons infected with COVID-19 in Davao Region and the total in Mindanao to six.

PH 262 and PH 263, both aged 47, arrived in Davao from Manila on March 6.

A huge signage along Davao City’s Diversion Road reminds the public to maintain a two-meter distance under the city’s community quarantine guidelines for COVID-19. Photo taken Wednesday (18 March 2020) by MANMAN DEJETO / MindaNews

The wife, identified as PH263, started manifesting the symptoms of COVID-19 such as colds and body malaise on March 9 while the husband, PH262, developed the symptoms on March 13.

Medical experts from the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) collected the specimen from the two patients on March 13, and were immediately sent to the RITM in Manila for processing.

As of Sunday, the DOH-Davao said the “two patients are now asymptomatic, and are on strict home quarantine.”

The two patients are among the 77 new cases in the country, which as of Saturday noon had risent o 307. As of Sunday noon, the figure had risen to 380.

The first confirmed COVID-19 patient in the Davao region, currently confined at the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City, was was placed on isolation on March 9, 2020, at a local health facility after seeking consultation due to cough. The following day, she was transferred and admitted for isolation and testing to DRMC.

Identified as the PH130, the patient, a resident of Pantukan Municipality, Davao de Oro, traveled from the United Kingdom with a layover via Doha, Qatar to Manila then to Davao on February 29, 2020 via Philippine Airlines.

As of 12 noon of March 22, 2020, the DOH-Davao recorded five PUI deaths. Of them, the agency said two had tested negative for COVID-19 while it is still awaiting laboratory results for the three others.

Those who tested negative are a 71-year old PUI from Matanao, Davao del Sur who died of septic shock secondary to perforated peptic ulcer on March 15 in SPMC and 68-year old Korean national from Panabo, Davao del Norte who died on March 17. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)