MANILA (UPDATE) - Three COVID-19 patients in Quezon City were sent home following their test for the virus due to lack of space in facilities, Mayor Joy Belmonte said Sunday.
Belmonte said the 3 belongs to urban poor communities and the city government is finding a way to extract the patients to prevent the spread of the virus.
"They're all confirmed positive," she told ANC, adding, "They are not admitted. So, that’s a little shocking and a little disturbing, I think."
"They are showing, fortunately, just very, very mild symptoms. And I think, probably, they might be asymptomatic that's why also there's a little bit of lack of concern to isolate them in a facility," Belmonte said.
In a message to ABS-CBN News later in the day, Belmonte said, “Ang nag-test sa kanila ang nagpauwi sa kanila at nadatnan na lang namin sila sa bahay after the list was given to us by the (Department of Health).”
Two of them have manageable conditions, while the other is in a "quite congested" area, she said in the ANC interview.
"At the moment, I’m really thinking of a way how that person (in the congested area) can be isolated. We do have hotel facility turned hospital, that we started operating last Thursday for persons under investigation (PUIs). And I'm now thinking of probably reserving at least one room of that hotel-turned-hospital for (COVID-19) positives that might not be exhibiting very severe symptoms, just to take them away from the community. That’s an option we’re considering at the moment," she said.
Belmonte shared that the lack of space in health facilities led to the current protocol of sending patients home while waiting for their test results.
"Now, what's happening is the person gets tested but because there’s no place for them to stay while they're waiting for the results, they get sent home. So, even if they’re positive, they get sent home," she said.
It was not immediately clear if the 3 patients are among the city's 44 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday afternoon, according to the Department of Health's website.
Belmonte said four areas in the city are currently under "extreme enhanced community quarantine" following the guidelines of the government's Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious diseases.
The COVID-19, which was first detected in China in December last year, may be fatal for the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those with underlying medical condition but 80 percent of cases globally showed a high chance of recovery "without needing special treatment," according to the World Health Organization.
As of Saturday, the Philippines has 307 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 19 deaths.