Single facility for COVID-19 patients to enable gov't to maximize resources: disease expert


Posted at Mar 17 2020 09:14 AM | Updated as of Mar 17 2020 10:31 AM

A tent area to receive possible patients under investigation for COVID-19 stands at the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City on February 5, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Identifying a single facility for all COVID-19 patients in Luzon is a "good idea" so government can maximize its virus control measures, an infectious disease expert said Tuesday.

Malacanang earlier said it was considering isolating all confirmed COVID-19 cases in one facility to control the virus spread.

Visayas and Mindanao, however, would have to identify their own dedicated centers due to logistical issues, according to Dr. Rontgene Solante, chairman of the adult infectious diseases and tropical medicine section of state-run San Lazaro Hospital.

In Luzon, the Philippine Blood Center and the Quezon Institute, both in Quezon City, are "ideal" candidates for the said facility, Solante said.

The first hospital has a "capable setup" and is near the Lung Center of the Philippines, while the latter is ideal as it used to be a tuberculosis referral center, Solante said.

"The resources will be channeled towards this particular hospital. (At the) same time, we can maximize all the infection control precautionary measures because if we identify the center then all other hospitals can now send their patients and decrease and prevent infection," he told ANC's Early Edition.

"I fully understand the difficulty of accommodating each patients in most private hospitals even if they’re capable. It has cost a lot of strain to their healthcare workers, including patients that should be taken care of without the infection. This is a really good idea that we have to identify this particular center."

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He, meantime, urged persons who have mild symptoms and are healthy to stay at home, while those with existing illnesses and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must get tested.

Solante added that persons without symptoms but are positive for COVID-19 must stay at home. Once symptoms occur, they must be observed and taken to a hospital if these persist.

"(For those who are) asymptomatic and positive, the risk of infecting other individuals is very very low," he said.

As of Monday, there are 142 cases of COVID-19 in the country, including 12 fatalities and 3 recoveries.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri was the nations' first official to contract the virus. He said he remains asymptomatic and would undergo another test after 10 days to see if he was still a carrier of the virus.