DOH disinfects offices after director tests positive for COVID-19

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2020 10:43 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said that its offices have been disinfected as one of its officials tested positive for COVID-19.

“The health and safety of its employees is among the department’s top priorities. Offices within the DOH have been disinfected, and close contacts of the official (were) immediately informed and advised to undergo home quarantine,” the DOH said in a statement.

It also clarified that “as long as you were not in close proximity — at least 2 meters distance — with the said official, you are not considered a close contact.”

Close contacts of the official are those who interacted with him or shared the same home or office space. Those who care for patients are also considered close contacts.

“In the interest of upholding the rights of every Filipino, including the right to privacy, DOH remains resolute in maintaining the confidentiality of information pertaining to confirmed COVID-19 patients,” the announcement said.

Earlier, a note identifying the director and another official circulated. It warned close contacts to undergo testing and quarantine. 

The DOH has already clarified that only one of its senior officials tested positive for COVID-19 and the other person mentioned in the internal message tested negative. 

While she refused to give more details, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the official who tested positive is male and in his 50s.