DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 March) — The Department of Health (DOH) regional office is currently monitoring one patient who is confined at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) after manifesting symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
DOH-11 director Annabelle Yumang confirmed in a text message on Sunday that the patient under investigation had a travel history but did not disclose the country where the patient came from.
“We are closely monitoring the person,” she said.
SPMC chief of hospital Dr. Leopoldo Vega said there is still no confirmed COVID-19 case in the city.
Last month, Vega assured that the SPMC has the “capability and expertise” in handling patients with COVID-19.
“In terms of medical centers, we are now very capable of handling this especially in trying to isolate patients because aside from laboratory, we have isolation facilities. These isolation facilities can protect the health workers from getting contaminated because this is negative pressure, and also help patients’ watchers so they don’t get communicated,” he said.
He added the government had capacitated two public hospitals – SPMC in Davao City and Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, following the outbreaks elsewhere in the world of A(H1N1), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-COV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and Ebola Virus in the previous years.
“We should understand that emerging infections are always here. This is not the first time that globally or the Philippines or even locally we had experienced emerging infections,” he said.
On Saturday, the DOH cental office raised alert system to Code Red after it confirmed another two cases of COVID-19, one of them with no known travel history abroad. Code Red is a “preemptive call to ensure national and local government and public and private healthcare providers can prepare for a possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.”
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to declare a State of Public Health Emergency following the recommendation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
Nationwide, the Philippines has six confirmed cases of COVID-19, one of whom died. Two of the six are a husband and wife.
As of 9:30 a.m. on March 8, the DOH’s COVID-19 Case Tracker shows 48 patients under investigation remain admitted in the hospitals, one of them in Region 12 or Soccsksrargen. The same region has 4 PUIs. Caraga region has 3 and no admission while the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has one PUI and no admission.
The Davao City PUI has not been recorded in this Case Tracker as only three of Mindanao’s six regions are on the map.
The tracker has also recorded 646 PUIs discharged. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews, with reports)