SPMC’s Dr. Vega: “it looks like we have contained the contagion”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 April) – The chief of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) is confident that the interventions introduced in Davao City to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) such as the enhanced community quarantine and social distancing are effective in containing the contagion.

“It looks like we have contained the contagion with our interventions and hope it will remain that way for the next weeks,” Vega said as the graph of the number of COVID-19 positives vis-à-vis the total number of positives in the city shows the daily increase ranging from only two to four cases, with zero on some days.

Dr. Leopoldo J. Vega, Chief of the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City during the virtual presser of the Philippine Information Agency Davao region on April 6, 2020.

During the virtual press briefing on  April 6, Vega said “I think it’s working. People are staying home. This is the only solution. This is the only treatment. Stay home, social distancing.”

Davao City was placed under community quarantine on March 15 and under enhanced community quarantine from April 5 to 19.

In the same press briefing, Lenny Joy Rivera, Assistant Regional Director of the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao, the interventions undertaken are “probably working that’s the reason konti nadadagdag na case” (few cases have been added).

New positive cases vis-a-vis total positives in Davao City as of 09 April 2020. Graph courtesy of Southern Philippines Medical Center

“Hopefully the number of cases will really decline as days pass by and hopefully the transmission itself,” she said, adding that “if everybody will follow and cooperate with government, for sure mare-reduce natin ang transmission of the disease.”

According to data from the DOH-Davao, the number of cases in Davao City was 65 on April 6, 71 on April 9 and 74 on April 12.

No new COVID-19 positive was recorded on April 6 and April 12, according to the April 12 update of SPMC that Vega sent MindaNews.

High recovery

The recovery rate for COVID-19 patients admitted at the SPMC has been relatively high, with 39 of 71 cases as of April 9, accounting for 55% of the total, according to a Powerpoint presentation on “COVID-19 Cases, SPMC Statistics from March 28 to April 9, 2020,” a copy of which Vega gave MindaNews.

Vega said there has been “good recovery for patients with mild and moderate symptoms.”

Of the 39 who recovered, 29 are male and 10 are female, their age range from four to 72.

Overall percentage of COVID-19 positives still admitted, recoveries and deaths in Davao City as of 09 April 2020. Graph courtesy of Southern Philippines Medical Center

Two of those who recovered are children aged four and 15 who were infected by their mother whose history of exposure, Vega told MindaNews, was the New Davao Matina Gallera. The mother died but the children have been discharged from the hospital, Vega said.

The cockpit was the venue of the “Araw ng Davao celebration six-cock derby” last month that became the epicenter for COVID-19 infection not only in Davao City but in Mindanao.

The number of deaths in the city as of April 9 was 13.  According to a press statement of the DOH-Davao Saturday night, six of these deaths had exposure in the Matina Gallera while one was infected by one who had exposure in the cockpit.

Records show that COVID-19 patients who expired were older.

The SPMC Powerpoint presentation also includes a map of Davao City’s administrative districts and the corresponding number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Talomo has most

Talomo district has the highest number of COVID-19 positives with 27, followed by Buhangin with 21, Poblacion with 9, Agdao with four, Toril with two and one each for Bunawan, Paquibato and Calinan for a total of  66.

Five others listed as part of the 71 cases as of April 9 are from outside Davao City – Pampanga, Matanao, Digos, Cagayan de Oro and Panabo.  “That’s based on their address given on record upon admission,” Vega said.

Number of COVID-19 positives per administrative district in Davao City. as of April 9, 2020. Map courtesy of Southern Philippines Medical Center

In terms of recoveries, Buhangin has the highest number  with 15, followed by Talomo with 11, Poblacion 6, Agdao 2, and one each for Bunawan, Toril, and for those outside Davao City, one each in Matanao and Digos in Davao del Sur, and Pampanga.

In terms of deaths, Talomo accounted for five, Buhangin three, Poblacion two, Agdao two, and Toril one.

To sum up, MindaNews noted that out of 27 confirmed cases in Talomo district, 11 recovered while five died; in Buhangin, out of 21 cases, 15 recovered and three died; in the Poblacion, out of nine cases, six recovered and two died; in Agdao, out of four cases, two recovered and two died and in Toril, out of two cases, one recovered and one died.

Bunawan’s lone case, recovered, as did the lone cases from Pampanga, Matanao and Digos.

The Matanao and Digos cases shared a history of exposure at the six-cock derby of the New Davao Matina Gallera last month, according to their local government units.

Vega also said that 12 SPMC employees are among the 71 confirmed cases, accounting for 16.9% of the total as of April 9.

But in terms of percentage of positive employees among all employees tested as of April 6, 12 of 204 employees who tested positive accounted for 5.9% while those who tested negative were 192 or 94.1%.

The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

The SPMC is the main referral hospital for COVID-19. It has collapsed its other  services except the heart center, cancer center, psychiatry center and birthing facilities which are located in other buildings, to give way to COVID-19 patients in the main hospital. Vega said they have  allocated 40 ICU (intensive care unit) beds for critical care and about 80 beds those with moderate symptoms.

The city government has provided isolation facilities for persons under investigation with mild symptoms.

The state-run medical center is also a sub-national laboratory for COVID-19 testing for Mindanao.

The other hospital catering to COVID-19 cases in the Davao region is the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City, some 50 kilometers away.

The Department of Health (DOH) regional office reported as of 5 p.m. on April 12 a total of 90 confirmed cases, 14 deaths and 50 recoveries.

Out of the 90 COVID-19 positives, 74 are in Davao City, nine in Davao del Norte, three in Davao Oriental, two in Davao del Sur, two in Davao de Oro and none in Davao Occidental.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)