SPMC confirms 22 new COVID-19 cases; total in Davao Region now at 30

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 March)  – The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City has confirmed 22 more confirmed cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, bringing the total number of cases to 30 in the Davao Region.

In an interview on Saturday, Dr. Ricardo Audan, SPMC chief of clinics and health emergency, said the 22 new confirmed cases are confined at the hospital’s isolation facility, which houses the previously confirmed four COVID-19 patients.

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

Also, the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City has a total of four COVID-19 cases, with the addition of two patients from Mati City who have history of travel to Manila. One of the four had been discharged last March 23 after testing negative twice.

Audan said he could not confirm as of yet how the new patients acquired the infection, but he believed that some of them acquired it through their exposure to people who traveled from Manila.

He said many of the patients are in stable condition.

He said the number of cases spiked as the SPMC, the only hospital recognized by the National Reference Laboratory as a sub-national laboratory for COVID-19 “diagnosis and identification” in Mindanao, received more testing kits from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila.

Audan said the hospital is now capable of releasing test results of persons under investigation (PUI) daily.

He added the SPMC has 67 PUIs confined in their facility, awaiting test results.

The SPMC operates a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine that detects COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, SPMC chief of hospital Leopoldo Vega said.

The PCR machine can process 30 specimens per batch, which takes about eight hours, according to Vega.

“This whole test with the PCR machine runs for about 8 hours for a batch of 30 patients… The test for coronavirus is through the real-time PCR machine. And it’s important to understand that testing needs a lot of training because this is really molecular biology,” he said.

Mati City also reported its first two cases on Friday, March 27, currently confined at the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City. Both patients have a travel history to Manila and arrived in Davao City on March 7 onboard Manila-Davao PAL Flight 1812, according to Mati Mayor Michelle Rabat.

In her statement,  Rabat said the two patients were checked by City Health Officer Dr. Ben Hur Catbagan after manifesting signs and symptoms of the infection.

She said the patients were “readily isolated from the rest of the members of the household and quarantined.”

She said the patients are in stable condition

She said health authorities placed their family under quarantine, and had commenced “tracing from the time they arrived from Metro Manila until the time their quarantine started.”

“The threat of Covid-19 is now very real in our very own city. That is why we need the cooperation of each and every Matinians to strictly follow the guidelines we have in place and practice proper hygiene. Wash your hands as often as possible, maintain social distancing, stay inside your homes,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)