DOH announces 2 new COVID-19 deaths, 6 recoveries as cases climb to 187

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2020 04:41 PM | Updated as of Mar 17 2020 10:02 PM

MANILA (UPDATE3) — Two additional fatalities from the coronavirus disease were reported Tuesday in the Philippines even as the total recovery cases also climbed to 6 out of the 187 confirmed infections so far in the country, a health official said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told radio DZMM that two male patients, aged 76 and 67, succumbed to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Tuesday afternoon, raising the country's total tally of fatalities to 14.

Both were confirmed to be positive for COVID-19 on March 15.

The 76-year-old patient died at the Adventist Medical Center-Manila after experiencing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and severe pneumonia, the health department said. He also had Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease.

The 67-year-old patient, meanwhile, expired after experiencing ARDS, secondary to COVID-19, as well as community-acquired pneumonia. The agency said he was also known to be hypertensive.

Vergeire said the total confirmed cases in the country, as of Tuesday evening, stood at 187, which include the 14 deaths, as well as six cases of recovery, so far.

The latest two recoveries involved two Filipino men aged 34 and 46, who both tested positive on March 9 and were confined at the Makati Medical Center.

Earlier on Tuesday afternoon, the health agency said a 31-year-old man, tagged as PH25, from Negros Oriental province who was among the repatriates from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, became the country's 4th case of recovery.

According to the Department of Health case bulletin, PH25 tested positive on March 9, and then later tested negative twice as confirmed by Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in Pampanga province, north of the capital Manila.

He “will be discharged within the day,” the bulletin said.

The three other patients who recovered are a 46-year-old Filipino man, and the two Chinese tourists tagged as PH1 and PH3 who have since returned to China.

Asked what intervention was done on the patients who recovered, Vergeire said, "Wala pa ho tayong nadidiskubre na gamot para sa COVID-19. Yung mga tao na gumaling, sila po ay nag-umpisa na mild lang naman ang symptoms. At pagkatapos, sila ay nag-recover on their own dun sa ospital, and they tested negative."

(There is still no medicine discovered for COVID-19. The people who recovered manifested mild symptoms only at the start. And then, they recovered on their own in the hospital, and they tested negative.)

"So, wala po kaming mabibigay na, 'Eto kasi ang binigay sa kanila, kaya po sila gumaling.' Pare-pareho lang po yan - 'pag dumating sa ospital, that is supportive treatment. Ibig sabihin, kung ano yung nararamdaman pag dating sa ospital, yun ang gagamutin. Pero, liban dun, wala ho tayong gamot na directly nagagamot ang COVID-19," she added.

(So, we can't say that we gave this to them, that's why they recuperated. Everything is the same - when they reach the hospital, that is supportive treatment. It means that whatever is the complaint upon arrival at the hospital, that is what's going to be treated. Other than that, we don't have medicine that directly treats COVID-19.)

Vergeire noted that those who recovered are not those classified as vulnerable. They have no other comorbidities and also did not suffer some complications. They also belong to the age group of below 50 years old, and did not stay long in the hospital (average of 6 to 8 days).

Vergeire said they are working on getting some of these recovered patients to share their experiences, to show to the public that not all who get the disease die.

"Hindi naman po ito ganun ka-fatal," she said, adding people just have to be extra-careful and healthy.

(This is not that fatal.)

Vergeire said that once a patient recovers, "babalik na po sa normal. Unti-unting babalik sa normal ang ating mga baga, at ito'y magiging malusog uli."

(It goes back to normal. The lungs will slowly go back to normal, and eventually will be healthy again.)

She said that based on experience, patients who recovered do not manifest any lung scarring.

Meanwhile, Vergeire confirmed that actor Christopher de Leon and an official of the DOH central office are included in the country's list of COVID-19 patients.

According to the latest DOH bulletin, of the new 45 cases reported Tuesday, three are from Quezon City, two from San Juan City, and one each from Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa and Caloocan cities. The rest are still for validation.

The youngest is 22 years old, and the oldest is an 86-year-old woman confined at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.

Six of the newly confirmed patients are at Cardinal Santos Medical Center, 10 are at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, 5 at St. Luke’s Medical City in Taguig City, 4 at The Medical City, and 3 at Diliman Doctors Hospital.

There are two patients each at the Manila Doctors Hospital, Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center, Makati Health Department, Santa Ana Hospital - Manila, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City, and Asian Hospital and Medical Center. The FEU-NRMF Medical Center, RESU-NCR, Medical Center Manila, Metropolitan Medical Center and Cotabato Regional and Medical Center have one patient each.

Majority of the total confirmed cases are in Metro Manila, and the rest are spread out in other parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

According to the government’s NCOVtracker website, there are 263 patients under investigation (PUIs) and 2,443 persons under monitoring (PUMs) as of Tuesday morning.

PUIs are those who have symptoms and have recently traveled to a place with local transmission of COVID-19 or were in contact with a confirmed case. PUMs, on the other hand, are those without symptoms.

Based on the John Hopkins University’s COVID-19 Interactive Map, there are more than 180,000 cases worldwide. Of that number 79,000 have already recovered and more than 7,000 have died.

The pandemic has prompted the Philippine government to declare a state of public health emergency, and impose a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine beginning Tuesday.